One of my favourite authors of all time is Bernard MacLaverty. He was my neighbour when I was growing up in the 1970's and I have found his stories inspirational over the years. He has the gifted ability to be able to write movingly and funnily about a whole range of human emotions - loss, love, disappointment, happiness. Writing short stories (which MacLaverty does extremely well) is a very difficult thing to do - you must be vivid and exact and your characters have to be perfectly observed. I picked up a collection of Bernard's short stories today to indulge myself. Sometimes as a writer you forget to read other people's work but it's such a crucial part of learning about how to better yourself and your style of writing. This particular collection is entitled 'Walking the Dog - and Other Stories' and the first very short story is called:
"On the Art of the Short Story"
"'This is a story with a trick beginning.'
(The) man put down his pen and considered the possibility that if he left this as the only sentence then his story would also have a trick ending"
(First published in 1994 by Jonathan Cape, London)