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Reading and Writing Short Fiction

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Scott Macleod

on 7 January 2014

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Transcript of Reading and Writing Short Fiction

Surprises!
Reading
and
Writing
Short Fiction

By Scott Macleod
By engaging in a close-reading of short texts
Examining the craft of writing
Understanding the key elements and principles of short fiction
Contributing in a critical and creative context
The End
How can we examine and express creativity in short fiction?
Short Fiction
Basics
A short story is ‘a brief prose narrative, typically 1,000-10,000 words in length that often centers on a particular episode or event.’

Can be read in ‘one sitting’
and no word in the story
should be wasted.

Often distinguished from the longer novel form by its more selective purpose and single focus to produce a dramatic event.

The Writing Process
Is this a
short story?
Narrative Techniques
First-Person (Singular)
When narrator functions as a character who tells the story using the ‘I’ form of address.

Extremely popular and widely considered as the oldest form of story-telling.

Example:

I really enjoyed my English lesson at school today! I finished all my work in class, and because I was so well behaved, Mr. Macleod didn’t give me any homework. I think he’s a great teacher.

Narrative Techniques
First-Person (Plural)
Narrative Techniques
Second-Person
The writer creates a narrator who conveys the story using the ‘We’ form of address.

Implies more than one pair of viewing eyes (but manifestly where only one POV exists) evoking the impression of a ‘communal’ voice.

Example:

We really enjoyed the English lesson at school today! We finished all the work in class, and because we were so well behaved, Mr. Macleod didn’t give us any homework. We think he’s a great teacher.

When the author creates a narrator who tells the story using the ‘You’ form of address.

An experimental and challenging technique that can create ambiguity.

Example:

You really enjoyed the English lesson at school today! You finished all your work in class, and because you were so well behaved, Mr. Macleod didn’t give you any homework. You think he’s a great teacher.

Narrative Techniques
Third-Person
The author refers to the main character using the ‘He’, ‘She’, ‘It’, or ‘They’ form of address. (Can also use this character’s name).

Like first-person narration, this technique is also popular, however, the main character is less attached to the proceedings.

Example:

She really enjoyed her English lesson at school today! She finished all her work in class, and because she was so well behaved, Mr. Macleod didn’t give her any homework. She thinks he’s a great teacher.

What is genre?
Comes from the French term for ‘kind’ or ‘type’ and is the classification of works on the basis of their content, form, or technique.

Usage of term in modern era has expanded to include sub-categories and sub-genres (e.g. Crime Fiction > Hardboiled / Forensic).

Exercise:
From the following images:
Identify what genre you think is represented
Why have you matched this particular genre to the image?
Write a short paragraph describing what you think the image is about.
Difference Between Narrative and Plot
‘The king died and then the queen died’
Difference Between Narrative and Plot
‘The king died and then the
queen died of grief’
Plotting in Three Parts
Attempting to define plot structure, Greek philosopher Aristotle has argued that effective plots consist of three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end (
Poetics
350 B.C.)
Full transcript