don't buy it if you're looking for guidance on writing-there is very little about craft here but there are some excellent examples of different types narratives and they're grouped in an interesting way. One section, for example, has stories that retell fairy tales, bible stories etc. using modern story lines. Other sections cover such genres as dramatic monologues, miniature narratives and memoir. Useful if your looking for positive examples, but be prepared to draw your own conclusions.
Joyce Carol Oates combines the best of classic literature by Kafka and Faulkner with contemporary works by Garcia Marquez and King. Each story and poem exemplifies a writing technique or strategy. An example being the two versions of James Joyce's short story "Sister;" the first his original draft and the second a revision. "Telling Stories" is a wonderful anthology for anyone wishing to broaden their knowledge of literature from Homer to today.
If you are looking to take a writing class, save your dollars and buy this book, read your eyeballs out, and turn yourself loose on the personal style you are going to be so amazingly aware of... A ton of great reccommendations, and as always she writes with an ease and flow that is bewildering...
I've used this text for my Writing Fiction 281 class, and it's fantastic! I especially like the "flash fiction" section in the beginning. If you're looking for a reader that includes cannonized authors as well as fresh young voices, this is a solid choice.
Having introduced people younger than I to some great literature for a living, while never having written a short story, seemed ironic at the very least while I was teaching. After retirement and at least setting into motion the various things a guy must in order to survive on the leavings of a teaching salary, I find my professional focus and omissions an opportunity! Who could have guessed. We do get second chances. Ain't life wonderful?
Joyce Carol Oates' TELING STORIES: AN ANTHOLOGY FOR WRITERS offers me treasures I suspect I would have missed, had I been busy learning to walk around in short stories and figure out the neighborhood. I sort of know that geography in a Google-maps kind of way. Miss Oates' book gives me smaller areas -- backyards and beach houses and apartments with real, impolite, nonVictorian people in them -- to consider as I also think about things that a story teller has to learn to do. For instance, I wanted to build conflict in a story with a first-person narrator that seemed to be developing okay, but I have been writing description for so many years that I had no inkling of how to go about that feat.
Miss Oates didn't tell me how, thank goodness. She included a story that works because of gradually and needlessly increasingly anger, hence, brutality, caused by its first-person narrator. Although I didn't imitate the story in TELLING STORIES, I did read it carefully and recall another story that worked because its protagonist also could not control his anger. Then I set about imagining scenes for my story as I wrote them. I think it worked out. At any rate, it is the closest thing to a real short story, rather than a memory from childhood used as a springboard, or some such enjoyable semi biographical piece.
I heartily recommend the book for people who truly want to develop their imagination while they read closely as a prelude to reading more widely and writing and rewriting.