Flannery O Connor’s Mystery and Manners

As you know, I am a member of the Carlow Writers’ Co-operative, I love it but recently I have noticed that most of the writers are turning to poetry…Hmmm, is poetry the new black? We have three fiction writers and two short story writers, me and another girl. We met at my gaff after baby went down to talk all things short and to critique and overhaul each others work.


She brought me a  copy of Flannery O’ Connor’s Writing manual type book, Mystery and Manners. It is made up of her thoughts and lectures on writing prose with a full chapter dedicated to the short story form. I have just finished that very chapter and it is brilliant, of course. She speaks about the two main and important parts of the short story. They are, according to her, mystery of the personality of the characters as in the character needs a personality and the second and probably most important things is the concrete, the visual and the senses. What does the writer see, what does the writer want the reader to see and feel or get meaning from? In fact, her musings and advice remind me of a poetry workshop i did last week with A Doctor Derek Coyle…Perhaps, poetry and short stories are more similar than we think.

Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’ Connor is available from every good place you can buy books, i would think. Amazon has it http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Manners-Occasional-Flannery-OConnor/dp/0374508046


4 Replies to “Flannery O Connor’s Mystery and Manners”

  1. thanks for standing up for the short story, Rozz. Presuming that memoirs or recollections come under that category. I was beginning to feel like a Dinesaur in Co-operative group. I can write Poetry if something affects me suffiently enough to need immediate record but my life experiences are more interesting in my mind – whether they are of interest to others is questionable. I love Poems that tell a wee story – like Simon’s. Glad to know that you aren’t letting motherhood get in the way of your writing. Hugs to the littlest man in your life. Betty

    1. Yes, Betty, memoirs and recollections are all fiction and you write them very, very brilliantly! Someone has to stand up for the short story! But, we have Edel and others in the group so hopefully…
      Thanks for the kind wishes, lovely to see you today in Borris. You are as fit as a fiddle!

    1. Edel, I am enjoying it, not finished yet! Though, rereading the Flannery O’ Connor “A good man is hard to find.” How shocking and brilliant it is. The Grandmother and the “baddies” chill me inside.

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