Stories that affect us don’t always have to be full length novels. Sometimes, they’re short stories, and today’s author shares how one in particular changed her life and helped shape her writing career. Welcome Sarah Brentyn!
Winning the Lottery
It won’t surprise most of you that the last book I read is not a book. It’s a short story.
I was introduced to “The Lottery” during a lit class for my undergrad degree.
It spoke to me.
It said something like, “Hey! You, there! College chick. Check me out. I’m short and spectacular. I mean, seriously, I’m awesome. Read me again!”
I did. And still am (obviously) many years later.
One dark and stormy (actually, it was clear and starry) night in January, I decided to revisit this favorite. I fell asleep thinking about it, woke up thinking about it.
I could not stop thinking about it.
She weaves different moods seamlessly throughout this piece. The setting in contrast to the plot is perfect. The dialogue is fantastic. The foreshadowing is just enough to keep you guessing. The characters’ personalities, which we learn a lot about, are both expressed and implied. How does she do all this in so few words?!
It’s surreal yet believable that a community would behave this way. How far are people willing to go to hold on to tradition? To pacify their superstitions? I wonder what it would be like to grow up there, how it would change you, if you’d be able to form healthy attachments, what your relationships would be like. I wonder if the lottery will continue. I wonder what would happen if they stopped. I wonder how long it would take for everyone to agree or if they ever would. I wonder…
Jackson gives readers a psychological slap. She makes us uncomfortable in a captivating way that’s not easily dismissed. The build-up, revelation, and subsequent reactions of characters leave readers with questions that intensify curiosity and creativity. I don’t care how silly this sounds—I’m going with it. Full force. (You have been warned.) This story changed my life.
It showed me what can be accomplished with a few, well-chosen words. It fed my desire to think, analyze, and contemplate. It appeased my fascination with human nature. It set my mind ablaze.
It is one of the stories that set me on my path. Short fiction can be done. And done well. It’s something I strive for when I sit down to write.
Sarah Brentyn is an introvert who believes anything can be made better with soy sauce and wasabi.
She loves words and has been writing stories since she was nine years old. She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them.
When she’s not writing, you can find her strolling through cemeteries or searching for fairies.
She hopes to build a vacation home in Narnia someday. In the meantime, she lives with her family and a rainbow-colored, wooden cat who is secretly a Guardian.
She is the author of two collections of flash fiction: Hinting at Shadows and her latest release On the Edge of a Raindrop.
Blurb (On the Edge of a Raindrop)
These are stories of lives on the edge.
A girl tortured by the world within her. A boy powerless to escape his home. A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake. A man lost in a maze of grief.
Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.
This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions.
Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop.
Contact Information (blog, website, etc.)
On the Edge of a Raindrop
Hinting at Shadows
Blogs / Social Media:
Lemon Shark Reef
Twitter, Google+, Website