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Welcome To Thresholds

April 19th 2017

Welcome to THRESHOLDS: home of the international short story forum, with over 80,000 visits per year. Members can participate by joining our team of bloggers, entering into online discussions, and submitting material to Writing Exercises, Author Profiles, We Recommend and Discussions. Contact us at: thresholds@chi.ac.uk.

Writing Exercise: Taboo

May 22nd 2017

WRITING EXERCISE: 'On a fundamental level, the plot of any story can be reduced to: a character who wants something they can’t have. Where it gets really interesting is when that ‘something’ is totally out of bounds. Flirting with someone else’s lover. Saying ‘Macbeth’ in a theatre. Opening Pandora’s Box. Reading a banned book. Speaking Voldemort’s name. Riding your big sister’s bike…' JO GATFORD, from Writers' HQ, offers a creative exercise in the taboo…

With Varying Degrees of Reluctance

May 17th 2017

JUDITH GEORGE discovers Claire Keegan's ear for silence in a story from Walk the Blue Fields: 'So little in ‘Night of the Quicken Trees’ is said, and yet what is said speaks volumes. That is the key to Keegan’s unflinching style…'

Chalk Mother

May 15th 2017

HANNAH BROCKBANK tells us why she admires 'Chalk Mother', an intense character driven short story by Liza Cody: 'The environment crackles with connection and purpose but the daughter cannot fully be part of it. Instead, she frets about missing school. This important image transcends physical description and shows us what makes the narrator tick and what situations allow her to connect with the world...'

Brigid Brophy in Elysium

May 10th 2017

MICHAEL CAINES takes a walk through the underworld of Brigid Brophy's short stories: 'from its Shavian title onwards, ‘The Adventures of God in His Search for the Black Girl’ gives virtuoso voice to the figures excluded by convention from charmed settings such as deer-haunted forests and the pastoral Golden Age...'

Blown Away

May 8th 2017

MIKE SMITH finds himself at war with Vivien Jones' flash fiction 'Sorting Office': 'Vivien Jones is a direct writer, with a deceiving simplicity of style, and in this very short story, a flash fiction by most measures, the simplicity and the deception are well employed. Structured as two half-page paragraphs, and a four-line ending, it establishes a path for a denouement that will surprise, although it is a conclusion that is, at the same time, entirely probable, rather than merely plausible…'

Old Water, New Waves

May 3rd 2017

VICTORIA LESLIE discusses the feminist message behind the stories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: 'When we think of the nineteenth century cult of the drowned woman, and of the abundance of these tragic figures in art and literature... Gilman’s story offers a new kind of heroine for the new century...'

Life as a Parable

May 1st 2017

ANTON DECHAND finds his way through 'The Great Wall of China' by Kafka: 'I never mention his name among my favourite authors. Yet there are few writers that have been with me for so long and never ceased to be a source of amazement. I know I can always come back to Franz Kafka and it gives me a strange comfort to do so. He’s like a talisman from a foreign culture: riddled, inconceivable, yet commonplace and imbued with a personal history…'

Stories from the Desert that Speak to the World

April 26th 2017

ELIZABETH EDELGLASS recommends Apples from the Desert by Savyon Liebrecht: 'Liebrecht is a multi-talented author who has written, and been honored for novels, novellas, plays, and television scripts, but the short story is the form that first brought her acclaim and to which she always returns…'

Cormac McCarthy, Whether He Likes it or Not

April 24th 2017

RICHARD NEWTON, shortlisted in the 2017 Feature Writing Competition, recommends Cormac McCarthy as a short story writer, whether he likes it or not: 'Ride him down, bring him in. Against his will, if that’s what it takes. Drag him to the pantheon kicking and writhing. Disregard his testimony: ‘I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.’ Commit Cormac McCarthy to the front rank of short story writers; to hell with his protestations…'

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