Edgar Allan Poe sits at the top of my short-story crushes. I met him in fourth grade when my teacher read The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum aloud to my class. Her performance rivaled that of a Tony Award-winning actress. She paused at the right moments, making me jump, shudder, shiver, and, best of all, beg for more.
She stretched the readings out over several days, and I still remember how the room grew quiet. I thought I could hear a heart beating from beneath the floor—obviously my own as it slammed against my chest—while terror slithered up and down the aisles.
I was already an avid reader, having consumed Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins mysteries, as well as the entire Wizard of Oz series, but I sensed something new in these two stories Perhaps it was their succinctness—so much power wrapped up in so few words. It was certainly my first awareness of the short story and how brevity can sometimes be preferred, how a small story can somehow be larger than a novel.
Now get out there and find your own crush. But remember… Edgar’s already taken.
A few places to look online:
YARN: Young Adult Review Network (One of my favorite stories from 2010: In the Spotlight by Emily Deibel.)
But don’t stop here… Check out all the listings in the Markets links.