The art of the short story has always been one of my favorites. Whether the author uses short story prompts to begin their story, or they come up with the concept themselves, compacting such thoughtful information and creativity into a shorter narrative is a craft that many have trouble achieving. As you can imagine, the ongoing debate about the average novel word count is a matter close to my heart. But the ones who are successful at taking such few words and striking gold are few and far between.
Concise and tight writing is the reason I became a journalism major. Many nights as an English major were spent staring at word documents trying to figure out how I could possibly reach my word count. Using long-winded explanations was a specialty of mine. Now in my journalistic writing the fewer words the better and that’s something worth appreciating.
If “brevity is the soul of wit,” as Shakespeare wrote than the process behind short stories and news writing go hand in hand. Maybe that’s why I have such an appreciation for both.
Usually with my posts I like to send my readers off in some direction to explore what my weekly blabbering is all about. I hate to disappoint so this week will be just like the rest.
Currently, my favorite selection of short stories was just released in novel form in mid-October. Tom Hanks has written 17 short stories and placed them in his new book, “Uncommon Type.” One story at a time, Hanks’s clever writing in combination with his witty humor make for 17 stories worth taking the time to read. Whether it is the history of WWII veterans catching up one night a year or the story of a young boy whose bond with his father fades before his eyes. Either way you’re sure to be stuck in the small worlds that Hanks so magically creates.
Another interesting aspect, and a bit of trivia if you weren’t already aware is that Hanks collects typewriters. (Subtle coughs at the title of the book). He is said to have nearly a hundred styles ranging from all different years with functions that only a collector could know and love. Each one of his short stories in this collection has a typewriter that’s style lends a hand to the story being shared. It encompasses what Hanks perceives his typewriter’s personalities are and how they connect to the story as a whole. In some stories, he even blatantly mentions a typewriter and includes it into the piece as a recurring theme.
Maybe it’s just me, but this is such a creative way to shape a novel and it’s the reason I came to buy the book in the first place. Personally, I own a Royal typewriter from the late 60s-early 70s and I couldn’t wait to see my same version of typewriter used in the book. A little nerdy? Absolutely. But hey do yourself a favor and check out Hanks’s “Uncommon Type,” for a collection of my favorite short stories. Plus, Hanks is the template for the American dad and we should all appreciate. If you don’t believe me than take a peek at the photo below. Happy reading!