Read Jill McCorkle's short story, "Magic Words," which is included in the 2009 Best American Short Stories anthology. Three groups of people form different intersecting scenes. I like the way the climax in the story is a decision not to do something. It is an amazing story in that the characters' lives are liberally revealed and intersect yet is still a short story. It feels like a short story--which I'm not sure what that means--but is comprehensive, I guess I'm trying to say it is really efficient and contains not one extra word. The descriptions flesh out the tone of the story and in turn, that tone, tells some of the story. For example, the husband of Paula, publishes a neighborhood newsletter called, "Our Domestic Wildlife." The husband is anything but wild and in fact, fearful. One character called "the leader" is mean and wild but is a grocery store bag boy and a girl, Lauren, is feral but scared. And, the newsletter's mission is to warn the neighbors of the coyotes, racoons, etc. that have been invading the neighborhood.
Here is a link to an interview with Alice Sebold who was the editor for this year's anthology and they also discuss Sebold's novel, The Lovely Bones.