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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

Writing Short Stories

I've been writing and publishing short stories as long as I've been writing and publishing poems--that is, since I was a teenager. In the 80s, I largely wrote stories (hopefully now lost) for a Midwestern teen magazine; I remember I was paid 2 cents a word.

Then followed a long gap. I don't have records of whether I wrote stories between the late 80s and early 2000s, but that's the publishing interval: I published my last 80s story in 1987, my next in 2004. I published two stories that year and remember my elation at an acceptance for one from Francesca Rhydderch for New Welsh Review. Another gap from 2004 to 2010 followed. After that, a story appears annually, then from 2019 I'm clearly more engaged in writing and submitting stories, and more are being published each year. Since 2004 I've published 25 stories, almost all flash fictions (under 1000 words).

Two things happened in 2020 to strengthen my confidence in short fiction. My story, 'Stephanie,' was chosen as one of the Best British and Irish Flash Fictions of 2019-20 and nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and a number of writers I admired told me how much they liked the piece and how strong they found the voice. A second story, 'The Fog,' appeared in Citron Review and was nominated by the magazine for Best Small Fictions.

Now I'm trying to grow my stories, as the majority have been under a thousand words. I finished one story at the beginning of the month that came in at 1100 words, the next at 1900, and the story in draft is 1100 words and counting with a fair way to go. Today I received some good news on the short story front: I've been awarded a grant from my university to help develop my short fiction writing with a residential course at Ty Newydd this summer with some amazing tutors. It's thrilling to have my writing development supported in this way, and I look forward to the course most eagerly. Watch this space for news of forthcoming stories: I'm feeling hopeful.

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