Today I’m posting an interview with Jami, who blogs about her adventures reading a story a day in 2012 at Worth The Effort.
You’ll be seeing some of her posts here over the next few months, in the regular Tuesday Reading Room series. I highly recommend you visit/bookmark/subscribe to her blog. It’s a great resource and a fascinating look at the benefits of immersing yourself in the literature while continuing to write.
1. Why did you decide to read a story a day?
I wanted a goal, a realistic goal. Last year I committed myself to reading a novel a week but by year’s end I’d only read 41 novels [“only”?! – Ed.]. So, I wanted to do something different and my brother, who is a fantastic writer of short stories actually, encouraged me to read more short stories. Then it occurred to me that I really hadn’t balanced my reading and that shorter fiction would be a good change for me. That’s how it happened. I decided to set a goal, a short story a day for the entire year, blogging short reviews along the way.
2. How many have you read so far?
I’ve read 102 stories at this point as I’ve managed to keep up with my goal. I’ve read a short story a day for the entire year thus far.
3. Are you discovering a style you love?
Not really, or at least not as it relates to style. I do find that stories rich in tiny and interesting details keep my attention and make me want to read more. Other than that, I’m reading almost exclusively what might be categorized as literary fiction. Though I have a science fiction week planned for the month of June so we’ll see how my answer might change after that.
4. Are you trying to read outside that style anyway?
Yes, I’m always looking for new styles. Sometimes, the story I’m reading is heavy in dialogue. Other times, there is little to no dialogue but plenty of voice in the first person narrative. I like them all so long as the story itself is worth the read.
5. What patterns are emerging, as you read?
I’ve come across a lot of stories that deal with family and I find that interesting, particularly because in my own writing I’ve always shied away from those types of stories. Reading these short stories has made me realize that it’s a place I can go, a place I should go in my own fiction. And, it helps that the authors I’m reading do this very well. Judy Troy is a good example of this type of writer. I could read her stories as long as she writes them. She doesn’t bore me and I never find her writing flat. There are some though in this first 100 days that I was disappointed in and those stories consistently failed to draw me in from the start. A beginning is crucial.
6. Would you recommend other people try this? Why?
Absolutely. Reading a short story by a particular author is like getting to taste test a dish at a fine dining restaurant. Why spend the money on a pricey entree if the appetizer isn’t worth the cash you drop on it. A short story is a good foray into any writer’s longer fiction. Besides, short stories are easy to digest in quick bursts. A reader can make decisions for future reading based on these short stories. For me, that is a huge bonus.
7. What are your plans for the future?
I plan on continuing with reading a short story a day for the year 2012. I also plan to continue writing fiction daily, focusing my attention on developing and staying true to my own voice even if I am reading a different one every day. There’s also novel length fiction and I’m still reading my fair share of that as well. That won’t stop. I still plan on hitting around 25 novels this year. That’s the plan at least.
Check back in next Tuesday to read her first guest-post in the Reading Room.
Are you reading enough? Do you read short stories? Are you reading them more as you prepare for StoryADay May?