Choosing the stories for the next issue

GovernorsBayPanoramicI’ve been selecting the short fiction for takahe 86, due out in April. There wasn’t a single submission that didn’t have some merit – great style, interesting characters or a gripping plot.

As I went through the pile, making decisions, it struck me yet again how fiendishly difficult it is to write a good short story. The ones that appealed to me were those which read easily, the words flowing gracefully. Effort made so as to appear effortless; no forced metaphors or flowery constructions; no unnecessary extras.

More than this is needed, however. There has to be one or more characters that the reader believes in, a beginning that intrigues, an ending that satisfies. But above all I realised, as I read piece after piece, there must be a substantial reason – other than telling a tale, or showing a slice of life – why the writer has chosen this particular subject. I believe that the stories I finally selected were those whose creator had become immersed, obsessed perhaps, by the fiction they were producing.

I hope you enjoy reading the chosen pieces when takahe 86 appears.