Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Armchair BEA - Expanding Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories

As we hit the middle of this BEA week I just want to take a moment and say I am having a spectacular time! I was already in love with the book blogging community but the continuous happiness and energy coming from everyone is just making me fall in love with it all over again. I think I'm going to shed a genuine tear when this is over and I'll be waiting for next year with all my heart.

Now, mushy feelings aside, time for some more interesting posts!

Expanding Horizons

What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way. 

I don't think I really have expanded that much beyond book blogging, rather I've extended the book blogging itself. I very much started blogging just to be able to write about the books I was reading. When I got my first review request I think I fell of my chair because I was not expecting it at all. You mean people were actually going to give me books? To read? For free? Wow... Since then I've done Author Interviews, Spotlights, Book Tours, Guest Blogs, the list goes on. I was never expecting any of this and the Armchair BEA is another part of me branching out.

What I do want to do though, eventually, is write my own books. I always get incredibly jealous (in a good way) when I see bloggers who have published their own books. I do quite a lot of creative writing, a lot of it mentally rather than on actual paper but oh well, but I don't think it's ready for anyone to see yet. I also believe, though, that my writing will get better with experience so at the moment I am just enjoying all the time to read and blog and once I have collected enough life experience I will begin writing properly.

Novellas/Short Stories

Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors? 

I have recently been on a short story anthology binge. Somehow they just seem to keep falling in my lap, not that I'm complaining. There is something amazing about a well-written short story. A good author can capture a whole novel's worth of emotions into a few pages. It's not for everyone though.

A short story I would definitely recommend is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. I had no idea how powerful a short story can be until I read this one. As a starter it is definitely impressive, but also terrifying!
Shirley Jackson's The Lottery is a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What's there to be scared of?
I haven't read any of her other stories but this one should give you an idea of why I love short stories. Another very good one is The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin. In it we hear the story of a woman who receives news of her husband's death and everything that follows after. It has become an incredibly important feminist classic and I personally love it.

 One of the first short story anthologies I read was The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield. I just sort of stumbled upon it and fell in love with the genre. My favourite story from this collection was probably Bliss, which is also deeply tragic (I'm spotting a theme here) but beautifully written!

The Bloody Chamber and Other StoriesFinally I want to give some attention to The Bloody Chamber and other Stories by Angela Carter. This is definitely one of the best short story collections ever. Carter reworks fairy tales in such a way they seem hardly recognizable. She also manages to suggest some really interesting ideas regarding gender and I just think everyone should read these stories. My favourites were definitely those derived from The Beauty & The Beast. You can find my review of the collection here.
From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.
A more YA anthology would be Grim which includes stories by Ellen Hopkins, Julie Kagawa and Claudia Gray, The Professor and the Siren by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack.

Are you a big short story fan? And are you planning on branching out from your blog? Leave a link, I'd love to come and visit and find out! :)Arm


  1. I totally forgot about "The Story of an Hour" until you mentioned it! I didn't care much for The Awakening, but I loved "The Story of an Hour."

    Otherwise I'm not much of a short fiction fan. I admire the skill it takes to craft a truly great short story but I'd rather immerse myself in a full-scale novel, I suppose.

  2. Beautiful choices!  You can see mine here.

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  4. I don't do things like vlogging or podcasts, but I have my own little features and I interact a lot more with other bloggers/authors (even publishers) than I used to. Not sure if that counts as "expanding" though...
    Anyway, I'm happy in my little corner and have no real desire to turn blogging into something... bigger. :)

    And novellas/short stories... ehem, so I don't really read/like them. (thanks to the Twitter Party I just remember Carmilla, which I loved, but normally the longer the better, haha )

    Good luck with your writing career!!

  5. Sadly, I'm not much of an anthology fan. I pretty much stick to novellas that are part of ongoing series that I'm already reading<-----then I LOVE them ;)

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  6. I love short stories. In fact, I keep Chicken Soup for the Soul books around when I need a spiritual lift.

  7. I don't know that you necessarily needs tons of life experience to write. EMily Bronte was only 18 when she wrote Wuthering Heights, after all. Nothing wrong with waiting for the right time though. :)

    I've been curious about The Bloody Chamber for a while. Thanks for reminding me I need to read it.

  8. Oh my word, I LOVED The Bloody Chamber! That's my kind of fractured fairy tale collection!