I’m terrible at writing short stories. Truly. I’ve always been the sort to dump several thousand words on a page every evening, straggling to the end of a story a few months down the road. Then, a year later, it gets wrangled and trimmed into something manageably novel-length. Attempting to world-build and character-create in a short story format is not my strength.
I wonder if short-story writing is better suited to those who outline? If one is a “pantser”, maybe the writing tends to be too long-winded to fit within the guidelines of a short story? I’m not sure. I just know that I’ve never managed to cram the vision from my imagination onto a few short pages.
I recently started reading my nearly-forgotten collection of O. Henry’s short stories, and found myself enjoying his tongue-in-cheek humor and nearly patented ending twists. Then there are the Edgar Allan Poe stories, the ones that were dark and foreboding and creepily unforgettable. I also have half a dozen volumes of fairy tale collections, some separated by author (Hans Christian Anderson), some by cultural origin (African, German, etc). They have all been re-read countless times, but without any success at any sort of imitation.
Do you know of some other good short-story authors or collections? Do you find it easy to come up with an abbreviated arc for a short story?