Writing the Short Story: 5 Questions for Trent Hudley

Every story requires its own form and the rigor of the creative process is the only way that your vision for that particular story is going to be achieved.” -Trent Hudley

Trent Hudley is the author of the short story collection One of These Days, published by Veliz Books. He currently teaches at the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, CO. He has taught Creative Writing in Regis University’s M.A. program, and teaches Literature and Composition at Metropolitan State University and The Community College of Denver. He earned his M.F.A. from The University of Texas in El Paso. He was raised and still resides in Denver, Colorado.

On Saturday, June 3rd, Trent Hudley is teaching a class for the WLT called “The Art of the Short Story. In this class, you’ll learn more about how to best structure plot, characters, and detail in works of short fiction.

Here’s what Trent had to share with us:

Scribe: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write? How did you come to writing?

Trent Hudley: I write fiction, short stories for the most part, but I am currently working on a novel. I don’t remember how I cam to writing. It really came to me I think. I’ve always been fascinated with reading and I just started writing because I wanted to do what the people who wrote the books were doing. I started writing comic books when I was about 9 or 10 for my cousins and friends then I graduated to writing horror and adventure stories for my aunt. She loved them and that encouraged me to keep going. I haven’t stopped since.

Scribe: In your own work, how do you approach overcoming the challenges that come with writing, be it writer’s block or craft or business-related challenges?

TH:I just write through it. I have a very regimented schedule. I write from 5:30 am until 9:30am five days a week. The most challenging aspect of writing is starting a new piece. That’s when the self-doubt and frustration comes in. During this time writing can become laborious, and not fun. I don’t really like writing during this time. But I push on until I have a draft that I can go back and investigate and see what gems I can keep and what needs to go. That’s when the art comes in.

 Scribe: Has there been a moment of epiphany in terms of your work, when you thought, “This is it! Now I know what I’m doing?” How long did that feeling last?

TH: No, and I hope that there never is. Flannery O’Connor said: “As soon as a writer ‘learns to write’, as soon as he knows what he is going to find, and discovers a way to say what he knew all along, or worse still, a way to say nothing, he is finished.” I completely agree with this statement. The goal of writing, or art, I would say, is to investigate, question, illuminate. Every story requires its own form and the rigor of the creative process is the only way that your vision for that particular story is going to be achieved. I think that once you feel you know what you are doing you lose that sense of wonder that fuels art. If you lose that wonder you work by a formula. But don’t get me wrong, I love genre and formulaic writing, I am a ardent comic book nerd. I just don’t find that style of writing, for my own work fulfilling.

Scribe: What piece of advice do you find yourself giving to writers again and again?

TH: Write every day. Develop a regimen. Discipline is the key.

Scribe: What is one thing that people will take away from this class?

TH:I hope that they will leave with a greater appreciation of the subtleties and the great potential for powerful affect within the limits of this art form. I think the short story always plays second fiddle to the novel, but there is so much that can be done in the form as far as expressing that which is hard to express in succinct, beautiful and or stunning ways.

Thanks, Trent!

Click here to learn more about Trent Hudley’s upcoming class.

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