Pistols For Two

Pistols For Two - Georgette Heyer I'm only a recent fan of short stories. Nothing meant against them, but I enjoyed (and still do enjoy) the way a novel can sprawl over pages and pages of story, allowing a reader to really get to know a set of characters. I've tried writing short stories, as I've been told it's "the only way" for a beginning writer to be published. Always, they failed miserably, or grew far too long for the genre. Until recently, I've not been able to grasp how such a tight medium works. Finally, a remark from an author at the Surrey International Writers Conference made it all click for me. I paraphrase: "If a novel is the most important year in a character's life, a short story is the most important day in a character's life."The short stories in Pistols For Two really helped drive that idea home. Since the stories are all romances, the "most important day" is obvious: it's the day they meet (or, in some cases, re-encounter) their "one true love". Tacky as that sounds, Heyer makes it work, about a dozen times. I'm not a big fan of romance in general, and some of the stories here are stronger than others, but Heyer does have a talent for the genre. She sometimes re-uses "tried and true" plot devices, but one doesn't mind so much, since her characters are so original and lively. To be honest, her plots may only seem "tried and true" because they've been copied by so many other romance novelists. Favourite stories in this collection are "Pistols for Two", "To Have the Honour" and "Hazard". Heyer does love her brusque, slightly brutish heroes, but then, so do I. All in all, a nice, light, charming read, which is exactly what I come to Heyer for.Additional note: Since the beginning of 2005, I've written three short stories, none of them longer than 5000 words. Now that I understand their construction a bit more, I'm also reading them more often. A whole new genre has opened up before me.