Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme
want to write experimental fiction, definitely check out
Barthelme. And if you think you can't stand experimental
fiction, you might also want to check out Barthelme.
by Raymond Carver
Stories of Anton Chekhov
by Anton Chekhov
In addition to all the other reasons to read Chekhov, notice
what he does with POV.
Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen
Collected Stories of William Faulkner by
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by
The Best Tales of Hoffmann by
The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
by James Joyce
The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
In addition to his more well-known stories, check out "The
Burrow" for a beautifully constructed horror story.
Lucy: A Novel
by Jamaica Kincaid
Published as a novel, but based on a series
of inter-connected short
stories Kincaid originally published in The New Yorker—each
chapter also works as a stand-alone piece.
The Marquise of O and Other Stories by Heinrich von Kleist
For examples of amazing first sentences, check out "The
Marquise of O" and "The Earthquake in Chile."
A Fisherman of the Inland Sea: Stories
by Ursula Le Guin
by Stanislaw Lem
The Progress of Love by
Close Range : Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
out what she does with POV in "Brokeback Mountain."
Traplines by Eden Robinson
Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain by
Welcome to the Monkey House
by Kurt Vonnegut
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by
Eight Men: Short Stories by
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by
Renni Browne and Dave King
is a good book on writing solid prose. That said, the book is
largely rule-based (that is, it doesn't explore various choices,
and the trade-offs involved in each, but tells writers which choice is "right" in each instance); and it focuses on current
stylistic trends. So read and absorb this book, but also temper
it with the perspectives given in these other books on writing,
which offer more
expansive views of fiction, and with reading fiction from a wide
range of time periods and styles.
The Art of Fiction
On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner
On Writing by Stephen King
The Art of the Novel
by Milan Kundera
Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose