There's some kind of strange quality to short stories--published ones, that is. I can't quite put my finger on it. It's something like longing, or sadness, or mystery. It seems to be something unique to the short story form; I haven't some across it in novels. Something about the short form that leaves you wanting something more, something melancholy or unexpected about the endings.
This struck me because I've been stealing moments to read stories from Neil Gaiman's collection Smoke and Mirrors this week. This quality appears in about two thirds of these stories, and I've also noticed it in Audrey Niffenegger's "The Night Bookmobile," and in Anne McCaffrey's The Girl Who Heard Dragons. It doesn't appear much in short stories written for children or young adults, and I've never noticed that quality in my own short stories (however, these were mostly written when I was a child or young adult, so perhaps it only makes sense).
What IS that?
Alex is out shooting clays with Joel and Kenneth, and is quite pleased to get a chance to shoot an M-1 Grand. I'm at home working on my Preservation research paper--which means that I am reading articles that are interesting individually but don't really seem to be linked in any way. And I've just gotten online to re-read the paper requirements in hope that it will somehow spark academic inspiration within me, by noting that it should be 8-10 pages long, double-spaced.
Perhaps instead I should be writing a short story, 8-10 pages, double-spaced, about a preservationist that is sad, longing, and slightly mysterious.