I've been running a writers workshop in a town north of where I live. Last night was the third meeting, and it went well -- as have all the others. We are working on characters and character development, because the majority of the writers there are new to the craft and have a lot to learn. I think creating believable characters are always a great place to start to write memorable stories.
As a good example of character development, I read Mary Robison's Yours, which is a poignant story about a man and his wife carving pumpkins before Halloween. I've read the story a dozen times, or more, and yet something about it at that reading nearly made me cry in front of the group. There's something about short stories -- and I suppose novels are the same way, only they take longer to read -- that hits you at a certain time and strikes a chord. That's part of why I love short stories. Each reading gives something new to the reader; each new interaction with the story sheds some new light on the reader's perspective of the world. It is that moment -- that personal revelation -- that I really strive to find in others' works, as well as my own.
Writing has been going well lately, though, which I'm happy about. NaNoWriMo is in full swing and even with folks in town and a new niece, I've been happy to have reached my word count every day (plus a little extra).