Table of Contents
Short stories are easy to write. Good short stories are tricky. Great ones are all but impossible. They become poems where every word has to carry its weight, and I have yet to write one which satisfies me entirely. When it comes to read, you occasionally find a perfect tale. I own hundreds of short story collections, of which about half of which currently remain unread. One of the problems is keeping track of the ones you have read. I frequently find myself reading the same ones again by mistake.
Another problem arises from wanting to collect a definitive set of tales from one author. It’s easy to find the complete works of Kipling and even Dickens, both of whom were incredibly productive, but try tracking down all the stories of Charles Beaumont, John Collier or Daphne du Maurier without overlap – it’s impossible.
Hence my cunning plan to place all of my stories in one or two large hardback volumes. If I can find no publisher to take them I’ll crowdfund them myself. The last volume I wrote was called ‘Frightening’, and collected all of the remaining tales I’d penned that had no home in e-format. The running order, for completists, is;
The Ash Boy
Oblivion By Calvin Klein
Anything Can Happen
The Girl Who Loved French Films
The Corruption of Simon Montfleury
The Well of Seven
The Caterpillar Flag
The Scent of Roses
The Lift: A Play for Hallowe’en
The stories here range from science fiction (‘Spine’ and ‘OFF’) to apocalyptic horror (‘The Well of Seven’) to historical (‘The Scent of Roses’) and even fairytales ‘ – ‘The Ash Boy’ is my twisted take on ‘Cinderella’.
Since deciding I would write no more short stories I’ve already written two, both for friends who are editors. Sally, my delightful amanuensis, is transcribing the volumes one by one so that I can create a single manuscript and then place all the tales in an appealing running order. So here’s my question; how do you like your complete story collections to be arranged? By theme, year, alphabet, subject? Do they have to be chronological, or should they be arranged in sections?