Short stories

Short Stories

Monday, February 23, 2009

February is the shortest month of the year, so IWOSC is dedicating it to short stories!

Name your favorite short story.

Is it “The Gift of the Magi,” in which the wife cuts and sells her long hair to buy her husband a watch fob, while, unbeknownst to her, he sells the watch to buy her a beautiful comb for her hair? How did O. Henry create a short story of such lasting beauty? How did Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving, Saki, Kipling, Mark Twain, Bret Harte and many others create stories that we still read today?

More to the point, how can today’s aspiring O. Henry’ write stories that editors will want to buy? And where do we find these editors, magazines, and anthologies?

To answer these questions our panelists or moderator will discuss how to determine the elements and narrative arc of short story writing and how to get short stories published.


Dr. Steve Heller — Creative Writing Program Chair,
Antioch University Los Angeles

Dr. Steve Helleris an award-winning novelist, essayist and short story writer. He is best known for his novel “The Automotive History of Lucky Kellerman,” a selection for Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club and winner of the Friends of American Writers First Prize. Heller’s short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and national anthologies and twice received O. Henry Awards. Many of his short stories are set in Hawaii, where he lived for several periods, including in 1995 when he served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hawaii.

Heller made his mark as editor, helping establish two national literary journals, Hawaii Review, which recently published its 25th anniversary issue, and Mid-American Review, which he conceived and designed in 1980. He has since served on the staffs of Kansas Quarterly and Laurel Review. In 1990 he received the Kansas Literary Artists Fellowship in Fiction and in 1996 the Kansas Governor’s Arts Award, the state’s highest literary honor.


Christopher Meeks — lecturer, creative writing,
University of Southern California

Christopher Meeks, Creative Writing Lecturer, University of Southern California, writes fiction, non-fiction children’s books and articles. Some of his articles appeared in The New York Times, “Cinefantastique,” “Writer’s Digest,” “Smart Computing,” and “Chic.” He’s produced several plays and was a theatre critic for Daily Variety for eight years. His short fiction has appeared in many journals and his collected works are published by White Whisker Books as “The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea.”

Meeks teaches creative writing at CalArts, UCLA Extension, the Art Center College of Design and Santa Monica College (SMC). He teaches because “what I didn’t learn in college English classes was criminal; I want to give the kind of enthusiasm and insight that I wish had been given to me.” He also believes his students are “often geniuses when it comes to their own insights and I don’t want to de-genius them.” Meeks’ passion in writing short fiction can be read on web page links via SMC’s website. Here you will find his stories “Green River,” “Academy Award Evening and Afternoon,” “Carriers,” and “Dear Ma.”


Mark D’anna — co-publisher,
Ex Machina Press

Mark D’anna is the author of the award winning short-story collection, “Big Brown Bag,” and he is the co-founder of the annual short story anthology, “Silent Voices.” Mark’s short fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, both in print and online. He is currently at work on his first novel.


Bernadette Murphy — author, critic and essayist
Bernadette Murphy
has published three creative nonfiction books: “The Tao Girls’ Guide to Real Estate” (with LA novelist Michelle Huneven); “The Knitter’s Gift” (a nonfiction, poetry and fiction anthology); and the bestselling “Zen and the Art of Knitting.”  Her personal narratives and essays have appeared in BOOK Magazine, Ms. Magazine, LA Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times Magazine and elsewhere. A contributing book critic for the LA Times, her fiction work, “Venice Street,” was a finalist in the Heekin Group Foundation’s James Jones Novel-In-Progress Award.  She has taught at UCLA Extension Writers Program, National University’s M.F.A. Program, and is on the faculty of Antioch University’s Creative Writing M.F.A. Program. Currently she is at work on a novel about music, motherhood and madness tentatively titled “Grace Notes.”

Peter A. Balaskas is managing editor, Ex Machina Press, an award-winning publisher of short fiction anthologies.
Founded in 2004, the award-winning Ex Machina Press specializes in fiction anthologies and collections. Its short fiction anthology, “Silent Voices: A Creative Mosaic of Fiction” (Volumes One through Four) has won international awards for Best Anthology at the London and Beach Book Festivals and awarded two years in a row by the DIY Book Convention in Los Angeles, resulting in Ex Machina Press being named Publisher of the Year in 2007.