A series presented by THRESHOLDS: Home of the International Short Story Forum.
I’ve been really struggling with a short story I’m working on. Long story short (heh) I wrote a short story that left me wanting, then I fixed it and made it into a masterpiece; then I edited it down into a pile of poo. Oops. It’s not been fun. So, I searched the interwebs for help, and stumbled upon this little gem: the Short Story Masterclass series podcast by Thresholds.
Thresholds is the self-described “Home of the International Short Story Forum”. The website has dozens of articles on writing short stories, general writing advice as well as advice on submitting manuscripts. There are author profiles, writing exercises, short stories to read and listen to, and finally, the reason for this article: a Short Story Masterclass podcast series.
Thresholds is loaded with goodies, a writer’s dream; and it’s all free (as far as I can tell.) Do you remember that feeling you had when you were a kid and the book fair came to your school? Your adorable little ticker was beating out of your chest as your widened eyes took in that glorious sight of stacks and stacks of beautiful, new books. You remember now? Good. Well now that I’ve taken you back to the sweet dreamy days of your youth, I’m going to rip out your heart. Sorry! But sadly, this website is an “historic archive” as of October 2, 2018. My lazy, half-assed attempt at research shows that Thresholds was a project sponsored by the University of Chichester, and for reasons unknown (but very vaguely hinted at in their goodbye letter … good luck not crying when you read it) is now defunct. Very sad indeed; but happily, the archive remains.
Time to wipe our tears and take a look at the Short Story Masterclass series podcast. There are six episodes in the series, and each series interviews three to four award-winning authors on the short story form. The podcasts are each about thirty minutes long. In each episode, the author reads one (or part of one) of their short stories. Then they’re interviewed, talk a bit about the short they just read, and talk in general about their inspiration, experience and knowledge of writing.
As a podcast addict, I absolutely love listening to these short but incredibly inspiring and informational interviews. I think what I like the most about the podcast and the site in general is their dedication to the art of the short story form. As their goodbye letter states, the short story is more than a means to an end for novelists-in-training: “the short story is a vital literary form in its own right, deserving of serious critical attention and acclaim.”
You’ll certainly feel that as you listen to the podcast and explore the content on the site. If you’re not one who appreciates the short story, then Thresholds might just convert you.