The Allure of the Short Story
By Natalie-Nicole Bates
Since the release of my short story, Antique Charming, I have been consistently asked the same question—Why did I opt to write it as a short story versus a full-length novel?
The answer is actually quite simple. From the start, Antique Charming was always intended to be a short story. It was meant to be six hours in the life of Lizzie Morton. A sensual, delicious little bite to leave the reader asking questions, especially, just who or perhaps better…what exactly is Adam Nichols?
I am delighted that the story has sparked debate among its readers, even controversy.
This was my intent.
As a writer, it’s very easy to stick to a formula where all of the storylines are neatly tied up with pretty little bows by the end of the story. The curtain falls, all questions answered. But why is this an absolute necessity? Of course it brings a sense of closure for the reader. But why shouldn’t the reader be able to speculate her own conclusion to the story?
So, just how did Antique Charming come to be, and from my perspective, exactly what is Adam Nichols?
I am an avid collector of Victorian and Edwardian-era photographs. To me, there is much beauty in these black and white stills. Last spring, I found a photograph from an online seller that completely captivated me. The size of a postcard, but printed on a much thicker stock was the image of a funeral home (I come from a long line of folks in the funeral care business). Outside, a very handsome man stands proudly with his hands clasped in front of him, most likely one of the owners at the time. Although the photo is slightly faded, you can still clearly make out the reflection in the glass of a black funeral carriage tied with elaborate ribbons. The back of the photo reads in very elegant script, Week of Oct-11-1896.
Although the photo was pricy, I splurged and bought it for myself.
When I finally held it in my hands, I was in love. It was then that an idea occurred to me. What if a very lovely lady who is just starting out in the funeral business buys this particular funeral home, determined to restore it to its former glory. And what would happen if one night this woman was visited by the very handsome man in the photo who claims to still own the funeral home?
To me, the idea seemed like a good one. He wasn’t a ghost or a vampire. The closest I could describe him is as a dybbuk. In Jewish folklore, the wandering soul of a dead person that enters the body of a living person and controls his or her behaviour. But even is dybbuk isn’t quite accurate.
At the end of the day, it is you, the reader, who will decide just what Adam Nichols really is. I never expected so many readers to write and ask me for a full length novel. Perhaps at some future time I will speak with my publisher about turning it into a full novel. But for right now, my photographs are beginning to speak to me again and just maybe inspiring a few more paranormal spins.