I like to keep a book beside me when I write for guidance and to light a fire under me. Today’s book is Tobias Wolff’s collection of short-stories, The Night in Question.
I’m working on a very short-story, or flash fiction, and I opened to Wolff’s short piece, “Powder.”
“Powder” is a deceptively simple story on the first read, reading it through again and you realize there is a lot said in so little space. There are hundreds of examples of very short fiction working, and working well, but this story has a narrative style that gives family history and a character arc without overwriting or overstating. There is also a quietness to the story that I admire. Maybe it is the snow’s description. Or maybe what is left off the page. Whatever it is, there’s a sense of completeness at the end of only five pages.