Friday, June 06, 2008

48 Hour Book Challenge--Book Four

I was quite blown away by Richard Peck's Introduction to his book Past Perfect, Present Tense, New and Collected Stories because in it he talks about short stories being about change and the meaning of epiphany in relation to short stories. Do you know how many years...decades...I was writing short stories before I learned either of those things? And here it is in a collection of stories for teenagers.

Though I enjoyed Peck's wry touches of humor, I wasn't as entranced by his actual short stories. Until, that it, I stumbled upon I Go Along. A page or so into the story I recognized it as one I had already read and loved. I'm guessing ten to twelve years ago I came upon it in another collection of short stories (probably Connections) in our middle school library. That's how long I've been reading YA and younger short stories. For what good it's done me.

Anyway, I Go Along is a fine example of epiphany at it's best.

Also, at the end of the book Peck gives Five Helpful Hints (for writing). Hint #4 is about voice. Peck says, "This isn't television. Characters aren't identified by sight but by sound. Particularly in a short story, every word they speak needs to sound like the speaker and move the story along."

I think he makes a good point about voice moving a story along. Voice doesn't exist just for it's own sake. Like everything else in a story, it's supposed to be there for a reason.

Reading Time: 3 and 1/2 hours

Number of Pages: 177

Blogging Time: 20 minutes

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