The Beauties by Anton Chekhov
I first heard of Chekhov's The Beauties last semester in one of my English lectures. The lecture was on the literary form of the short story.
The Beauties is said to be one of the most important short stories of all time.
It is a wonderful example of how a short story does not at all depend on plot. In The Beauties, nothing happens - twice.
It's beautiful, it's emphatic, it just is what it is. And it needs nothing more.
It left nothing to be desired.
The story is one boy's experiences beholding exquisite human beauty.
It is his contrast in reactions and feelings to these beauties, his starkly different responses to them, his analysis of what beauty is, and how others might perceive them.
The Beauties, I think, has helped me realise how unimportant plot can be in fiction. Watching my lecture online yesterday (for my creative writing unit), Brenda (Walker - author and unit coordinator) focused on the importance of character (as opposed to plot) in fiction. The Beauties is a brilliant example of that - of how little I need worry about plot when I go to write my story. It's one thing to hear advice, and another to see it in action. That's what I'm hoping The Beauties is for me.
The fuel for my creative fire.