Click on the arrow above to listen to Paddy’s reading.
Hi I’m Paddy O’Reilly and today I’m going to read you a story called How to Write a Short Story. There are a lot of courses and books and websites and all kinds of things that talk about the rules for writing short stories, the rules for making a good story, what to do and what not to do. I don’t think there are any rules, and if there are, I think we should break them anyway. So this story is a little bit of a play on all of those, recipes really, of how to produce a story. It was first published in New Australian Stories 2 put out by Scribe in 2010.
How to Write a Short Story
Another person or more people
Take the first person, gender her, name her, crack her, separate the body from the soul and set body aside. Place Meg’s soul in a bowl and whisk to a soft peak.
Put the remaining people into the place. Name the place and the people. Leave Tanya, Laird and Pauli to marinate in the Fitzroy sharehouse for at least a week.
Preheat the situation to at least 220 degrees, or 200 if fan-forced.
Fold Meg’s soul back into her body, making sure not to overbeat or the air will go out of her and she will be flat.
Transfer Tanya, Laird and Pauli into a large bowl. Beat well. Add Meg slowly, stirring after each addition.
Grease the sharehouse. Pour everyone into the house and place in the superheated situation. Cook for 2500 words.
Test whether the story is done by inserting a reader. If the reader comes out clean, the story is done. If the reader comes out sticky, place the story back into the situation for another 500 words.
When cooked, remove the story from the situation, turn onto a piece of paper and allow to cool.
Serve with a title and bio. For a special occasion, sift a few asterisks in Copperplate Bold over the transitions.
ABOUT PADDY O’REILLY:
Paddy O’Reilly (also writing as P. A. O’Reilly) is a Melbourne author. Her most recent novel is The Fine Colour of Rust (Blue Door, HarperCollins). She has also published a collection of short stories, The End of the World (UQP), another novel and a novella. Her national and international story awards include ‘The Age’, the ‘My Brother Jack’, ‘Zoetrope All-Story’ (USA) and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Short Story Competition (UK). Paddy’s stories have been widely published and broadcast, and are frequently anthologised in Australia and overseas.
“I’ve had two fellowships at Varuna, participated in a Varuna Script Development Forum for Work-in-Progress, and also been there for an Alumni Week where I met four wonderful writers whose advice and companionship during that week has continued to inspire me.” Paddy O’Reilly
The Fine Colour of Rust, novel, Blue Door HarperCollins, February 2012
The End of the World, short story collection, UQP, 2007
‘Deep Water’, novella in collection of four, Love and Desire, Five Mile Press, 2007
The Factory, novel, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2005
Numerous stories in magazines and anthologies, Australia and internationally
Agent: Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Pty Ltd London
Varuna has been funded by the Australia Council to produce a Varuna Writer-a-Day “app”. When we have recorded 365 writers the app will be made available on the iTunes store. In the meantime, if you subscribe to this blog you can receive a daily reading via your email and even have this directed to your mobile phone.