Broadening the view of the short storyA trio of writers will gather to discuss the popular form.

"One form, three voices - authors John Fulton, Kathleen Alcala and Tamora Sellman will discuss the short story in readings from recent works, Aug. 9 at Eagle Harbor Books.All three authors have a commitment to the form beyond a mere warm-up exercise for the triathlon of the full-length novel. I am relearning how to write the short story after 10 years of writing novels, said Alcala, long-time editor of The Raven Chronicles and current writer-in-residence at Seattle's Richard Hugo House.Alcala, whose novels have been based in her family's 19th century Mexican roots, says she is using the short story form to find a new, contemporary voice.She works to have her new stories retain the power of myth but also incorporate contemporary symbols of the young generation.I'm taking old legends and making them new - I might have a possessed truck, for instance, she says. There's a modern feel. There's that edge of risk. Only when she has fully integrated that point of view will she return to the novel form.For Fulton, the most difficult thing about writing is beginning something. The difficulty with stories, he says, is that you have to go through that experience again and again. Fulton's new collection of short stories, Retribution, attests to his persistence despite the rigors of the form.Fulton is drawn to the short story in part for the variety of setting, character and plot he can access in condensed works. When it comes to choosing words, Fulton avoids the pitfalls of self-consciousness, preferring to let language be transparent. When I first started, I was so impressed by language, Fulton says. The more I write and the older I get, the more important I feel it is to let story and character dominate.Unlike some writers, Fulton likes to read other authors while he is mid-stream in his own projects, welcoming influences - so long as the voices are different from his own. Both he and Sellman have deliberately chosen to narrate from points of view that are remote from their own.Sellman has built herself a fictional town - not unlike the place she grew up, near Vancouver, Wa. - as a base of operations for many stories so that characters appear in multiple stories, developing over time. Sellman prizes the ability to inhabit many points of view.'Who can write what' is a question I keep coming back to, Sellman says. I don't want to limit my point of view to a 36-year-old white woman. Sellman has occasionally even written from the perspective of the Native Americans who live near her invented town - and lived close to her family.Sellman began writing novels before she was ready to, she says. Her writing didn't have the depth that really knowing characters, their history, background, location would lend. Now, many stories later, her fiction rooted in a fully-developed locale whose inhabitants have taken on a life of their own. They are people Sellman anticipates introducing to her island audience Thursday evening. * * * * *John Fulton, Kathleen Alcala and Tamora Sellman read short stories at Eagle Harbor Books, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9. For information, call 842-5332. "

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