I recently published two of my short stories Strings and Peaches in the Attic. I was pleased that so many people chose to download them.
A short story is not everyone's idea of fun.
But good short stories can be intense, mesmerising. They can take over a coffee break, or make us sit too long in the sun. Every word fits nicely into our sudden distraction from routine. Every sentence leads somewhere, connecting us in someway with the plot, the characters, the place.
A favourite of mine was and is 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'. Not a particularly catchy title, I'll admit. But the author, Ambrose Bierce, had me with the first few sentences:
A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking
down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man's hands were
behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely
encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above
his head and the slack fell to the level of his knees.
What follows is as irresistible as the swift water below and the slack
rope hanging to his knees. I won't spoil it for you. If it grabs you,
download it and read it. You won't be disappointed.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - Amazon link
Another great read is 'Through the Tunnel' by Doris Lessing. A bit more intrigue in the title, this time. The story is a call to our childhood selves. To those moments we endured with shame or pride as we battled through difficult situations which must be won at all costs.
Going to the shore on the first morning of the vacation, the young English boy stopped at a turning of the path and looked down at a wild and rocky bay, and then over to the crowded beach he knew so well from other years.
A choice is to be made, in a foreign place. A challenge to be faced. The writing is superb. Being in the water has never felt so terrifying.
Through the Tunnel - Amazon link
I've read hundreds of short stories, but these two were the first to come to mind. They both deal with extreme situations. They both build to a fabulous climax. They both satisfy.
A short story is not everyone's idea of fun. But ideas change, and fun comes in many forms.