I couldn’t really write this week. Last week I finished a short story, but strangely didn’t get the rush of enthusiasm I used to get in previous occasions. I brought my story to a final point, but some doubt lingers with me, as if I didn’t reach the closure I was expecting. Something like a feeling of not good enough.
My doubt got an echo and an oblique confirmation when I read Imani’s post on unsatisfying short stories in the Paris Review. She regrets that many stories she read there are conventional, middle-class character studies: “If you open any recent issue 9.9 times out of 10 you’ll get a story done in a conventional style, 1st or 3rd person, male narrator/protagonist.” She also points out a few stories where her reaction is only to shrug and wonder “so what?”.
I’m afraid I know this flaw only too well. My latest story is told by a 1st person, middle-class narrator and I’m not so sure what my story aimed to achieve, even now. One of the big questions here: why would anyone get interested in my weak, awkward, fickle narrator? I guess my story wouldn’t pass Imani’s standards.
Maybe I should try to work on projects with suspense and actions for a change (I have plenty of unfinished stories, so several of them fit the bill). Anyway, as I’m without a review group for the moment, if anyone of the Friday ‘Fessers want to share constructive criticism (and isn’t afraid of a sex scene and a lot of typos), please let me know.