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The Short Story
Transcript of The Short Story
What have you read?
How does it differ from the novel?
Which do you enjoy more?
Elements of a Short Story
Think about something inherently ugly.
Make it beautiful.
The Short STory
Scientific advancement proves unpopular with general public.
Disruptive mental patients treated.
Woman with gold-digging mother nags wealthy man into marriage
Two rebellious teens mistake puberty for love
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been
Joyce Carol Oates - 1993
A Good Man is Hard to Find
Flannery O'Connor - 1953
The Yellow Wallpaper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman - 1892
Bullet in the Brain
Tobias Wolff - 1996
Cynthia Ozick - 1989
What's one of your greatest strengths?
What are three things you're scared of happening to you?
What's your favorite movie ending?
Did you predict it?
Create a character without your strengths
What happens when...?
Rewrite your predictable movie ending
“I was a bookworm who never quite fit her clothes. I managed to look fine in my school pictures, but as usual the truth lay elsewhere” (Kingsolver)
What's the truth behind your photographs? Think of one in particular.
“Before the book signing was over, more than one of my old schoolmates had sidled up and whispered: ‘That Lou Ann character, the insecure one? I know you based her on me” (Kingsolver)
What's your largest insecurity as a writer? Where do you find character inspiration?
“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.” (King)
Do you find yourself critical, or easy going in a workshop? Do you like to have your work critiqued?
"A short story is a different thing altogether - a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger."
"Short fiction seems more targeted - hand grenades of ideas, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode and you never forget them. Long fiction feels more like atmosphere: it's a lot smokier and less defined." (Baciglupi)
"A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film" (Moore)
Fighting Writer's Block
Write something that's not your story.
A commercial jingle
Set a word count
Create a character
Take a walk.
Make a schedule
Methods of Character Presentation
- Appearance, action, dialogue, thought
- Grammar as an art
- 'No' dialogue
Showing and Telling
- The art of significant detailing
- The flashback
- Vary personas: adopt a different voice to create a bias
- Vary audience: who's listening
- Vary the time: write to the past and
the future (grandkids/grandparents of your character
- Dialogues: Link two separate viewpoints
- Narrative: incidents related to your topic
- Scenes: Focus on a specific moment
- Portraits: Create a character, setting
"He was a man of few words..."
"She quickly let go of..."
"I never thought he would..."
"We were supposed to meet at..."
"Don't talk to your..."
"If you haven't surprised yourself, you haven't written." Eudora Welty
How does it begin?
Where's the conflict?
Is there a plot line? Is it predictable?
Which takes precedence: the character or the plotline?
Dialogue. Is it believable?
How is the text formatted?
Does the story show or tell?
Does the author play their hand?
Did you like it...?
Gloves and overshoes. Why are they relevant?
Question of masculinity
What links Walter to reality?