Good writers read. Be it a timeless masterpiece or a trashy novel, every piece fiction has something to teach us. Below I’ve listed five examples of short stories that have something to teach every writer.
“The Lottery” – Shirley Jackson
Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” is a must read for any aspiring horror writer. Jackson’s power comes from her simple and subtle writing that leads to a brilliantly crafted ending. No supernatural elements here, just a look at the power of tradition in society.
“The Monkey’s Paw” – W. W. Jacobs
Jacobs’ story is a classic that will never lose its impact on first time readers. He weaves a twisted tale around a simple, foreign object and leaves a humble family to cope with the consequences. Everything comes at a price.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
This short story is a great example of how fragile the human mind is. Gilman’s use of diary entries creates an intimate and disturbing read as we are shown how quickly a person can descend into madness when faced with a simple fixation
“Green Tea” – Sheridan Le Fanu
Le Fanu is known for mixing the natural with supernatural, and this story is no exception. Is the protagonist suffering from delusions, or are there more sinister elements at work to torture this man.
“Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to you, My Lad” – M. R. James
James is at his best with this ghost story. He mixes in a little humor but that does little to deter the ready from the creepy effect of his narrative, resulting in one of the finest examples of his work.
These texts can be found at: