Saturday 24 October 2009


An essential read. Short Circuit is a collection of essays from writers who are passionate (and successfully!) about short fiction. A real gold mine of insights and ideas for aspiring writers and for those seeking a refresher.
The Bridport Prize

At last! The definitive guide to writing short stories, put together by a team of experts who are passionate about this most elusive, maddening, beguiling and ultimately satisfying of art forms.
Cleverly constructed - a book which you will want to dip into for years to come. And a book which will do much to raise the status of the short story in contemporary fiction.
Carole Buchan, Asham Trust

Once a lover of the short story opens Short Circuit one quickly realises it is indispensable ... to a degree that has one asking why hasn't it been done before? Like all the best story anthologies the essays and interviews are varied in style and structure and possess all the attractiveness and excitement of good gossip.
Pat Cotter, Frank O’Connor Award
How refreshing to have a book on creative writing that is neither abstract theory nor banal 'how to'. What we have instead are insights into the short story from a marvellous variety of accomplished writers; an invaluable resource for anyone tackling this tricky but highly rewarding literary form.
Paul Munden, Director, National Association of Writers in Education

Here is a ‘How To’ book that is hard to put down. If there is anything you still need to know after reading the varied authors here, you probably haven’t read it properly. Read it again. Not that you’d need to, wisdom and insight hop off the page like light on water.
This book lacks the aridity of a textbook. The writers give of themselves and their experience, and information, advice and insight is fortified with example. Respect is given to the process and to the reader.
There is a mystery at the heart of writing. It’s the experience of characters and stories developing lives of their own; of characters arguing with their author and creator, of stories going places the writer did not know about. It is the marriage of this mystical, that a writer must learn to listen to, and the craft that a writer must learn, that makes fiction sing and dance on the page, and one of the joys of this book is the illumination given to this vital process.
Clem Cairns, founder, the Fish Prize

Vanessa Gebbie has compiled an indispensable guide to crafting the short story. The subjects represented here--all written by contemporary authors--will stimulate advanced writers and instruct newcomers. There's nothing like hearing from people who have learned a technique or a way of approaching a problem through experience. These authors are generous with what they know, to our benefit.

Alice Elliott Dark, Writer in Residence at Rutgers-Newark University author of ‘In the Gloaming’ and ‘Naked to the Waist’.

This is rich book- full of insight and interest. 'Short Circuit' will be a essential addition to my undergraduate book list- it is written by those who have first hand understanding of the problems, as well as invaluable knowledge of the craft of writing short fiction.
Gill Lowe, Senior lecturer in Creative Writing, Ipswich University.
This is a generous book, rich in ideas. It’s a practical book, giving a kick start to the imagination with its suggestions for overcoming the tyranny of the blank page, and it’s also a realistic book. Short Circuit updates Chaucer’s advice about life being short and the craft long to learn, without ever losing sight of why it’s worth the effort.
As a teacher of creative writing, I recommend it to students. I believe in the apprenticeship system and this is an excellent manual. As a writer, it reminds me why I write, and why there’s nothing else I would rather do.

Bridget Whelan, lecturer in Creative Writing, Goldsmith’s College

As full of inspiration as it is of sound advice. An invaluable tool-kit of a book for practitioners and scholars of the short story.

Mike McCormack, lecturer, MA in Creative Writing, NUI Galway.


Anonymous said...

It must be so encouraging to you + all involved to garner such high praise - especially generous, as from fellow practitioners and/or teachers. That's the highest kind: praise from peers.
May I add humble congrats? Of course I may! So I do. M xx
PS Word Verif is saying 'asesses' to me. It is an illiterate oaf and no mistake. Either that or it KNOWS something - something I don't know (not difficult, mind) ... Mxx

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Thanks Minnie. If you feel so inclined, pass the word round your colleagues who may be short story writers/teachers. Or aspiring ones!

Sally Zigmond said...

Please, excuse my stupidity, Vanessa but I would like to buy a copy or three of this wonderful-sounding book but I can't find it anywhere. Can you point me in the right direction?

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Hi Sally
You ain't being stupid, me dear. Salt do not have a pre-order facility, apparently. The book is on their site but is a) very hard to find (it takes me a while, and its my book! I find it via searching for me under 'G' in authors!) and b) you can't order it!
Amazon does not seem to know it exists, but I am told Salt let them know a while ago. All I can do is apologise on Salt's behalf - I assume it will be available when they get deliveries from the printers, and I will post when that happens!

Sally Zigmond said...

Thanks, Vanessa. I'm glad it's not just me--although it usually is. I am so eager to get my mitts on this one!

Vanessa Gebbie said...

And I am very keen to have your honest views on it, Sally. I am shaking in my boots!

C. J. Flood said...

Hi V,

Glad to see lots of exciting things going on. Let me know when the book's out.

I'm doing a Short Fiction module at UEA and the tutor, Jean McNeil, is always saying how few good short story craft books there are out there (and none in the library as yet.)

When I've read it I'll lend it to her and perhaps it'll end up on her reading list next year...

Can't wait to read it.


Vanessa Gebbie said...

Hi Chelsey... I hope all is going well! Enjoy the module. The book is back from the printers on 6th november... whee!