Lydia Davis, Writers Institute Writing Fellow who will be the featured guest at RPI's 73rd Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading (Wed., April 16, free and open to the public) was interviewed last week by NPR's Rachel Martin.
More about Lydia's appearance at Rensselaer: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/davis_lydia14.html
From Rachel Martin's interview:
On the moment when she realized that she didn't need to write long to write well
I can date that pretty precisely to the fall of 1973. So I was 26 years old and I had just been reading the short stories or the prose poems of Russell Edson. And for some reason, I was sparked by those. I thought, "These are fun to read, and provocative and interesting, and I'd like to try this." So I set myself the challenge of writing two very short stories every day just to see what would happen.
On how she knows when to end a story
I think I have a sense right in the beginning of how big an idea it is and how much room it needs, and, almost more importantly, how long it would sustain anybody's interest. And that's sometimes been a problem with a story when it's sort of offered me two ways that it could go, and I have to choose one or the other.
More on the NPR website: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/06/299053017/lydia-davis-new-collection-has-stories-shorter-than-this-headline