Saturday, January 11, 2020

Week 3 Project Research: Short Short Short Epics

Since I'm taking a stylistic approach to the project, I'm doing a Portfolio (no real need for an Introduction or a frame)... and for this project research assignment, I'm hacking the assignment a bit in order to do some more research into "drabbles," the 100-word style that I've decided to use.

I made a "Tiny Stories" label for the blog here so I can keep track of all the different drabble stuff I write for the weekly storytelling posts plus any extra credit stuff, and that way I'll be able to quickly see what I can use for my project. I'm guessing I'll be writing "tiny stories" for all the story assignments this semester, but that gives me a way to also write a traditional 1000-word story if I want to do so. There are also 100-word stories from India at my Drabbles blog that I could possibly use for the Portfolio also. I like the idea of choosing the stories I really and truly like best to go into the Portfolio! Unlike other kinds of storytelling, these drabbles sometimes work, but sometimes they kind of fall flat, and I never know until I've tinkered with them for a while what the outcome will be. So, the Portfolio will be perfect for picking the best ones to share with more readers and get their feedback.

For the research here, I'm going to look at some materials about 100-word stories to lift some inspiring quotes, good strategies, etc. So, instead of finding three stories to use for a Storybook, I looked at three reference books for short fiction.

Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer edited by Robert Swartwood (obviously the 25-word style is even more extreme than 100 words!)

quote from E. M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel: "The king died and then the queen died" is a story. "The king died and then the queen died of grief" is a plot.

quote: "the very best storytelling is the king where the writer and reader meethalfway, the writer only painting fifty percent of the picture and forcing the reader to fill in the rest." ... referring to this essay: "Hint ficion: when flash fiction becomes just too flashy" is online at his website.

hence the term hint fiction; quote: "because the reader is only given a hint of a much larer, more complex story."

quote: "a story should do four basic things: obviously it should tell a story; it should be entertaining; it should be thought-provoking; and, if done well enough, it should provoke an emotional response."

quote: "Hint Fiction should not be complete by it having a beginning, middle, and end. Instead, it should be complete by standing by itself as its own little world."

The Art of the Very Short Story by Charlie Close

quote: "It sharpens your writing skills no matter what form of genre you work in. It requires you to choose exactly the right details and precisely the right words and remove everything else. Your work will become both more economical and more fluid."

quote: "To get the most out of the small space you will learn to look for nuances and multiple meanings."

quote: "A very short story provides immediate gratification if it works and can be discarded without regret if it doesn't."

quote: A very short story can start "in the middle, at the point where our hero has gotten himself into trouble. The traditional short story would have taken a few hundred words to ge there. The very short story went straight to it."

quote: instead of giving all the details, "we can guess the details."

quote: "By starting in the story in the middle, right at the point of difficulty, we are able to take in the entire story from beginning to end, adding details as needed."

quote: "a useful technique for fitting the most story into the least space is to start at the moment where the trouble begins."

quote: "but every now and then, the best place to start is after the trouble is over."

[for this book I stopped at "Use Familiar Contexts" ; this will be a good book to come back to and take more notes]

Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook by David Galef

quote: "Paradoxically, leaving out material can make a piece of fiction feel more expansive."

quote: "Good flash fiction often relies on the art of implication rather than statement, depending on suggestions that lead to a large, unspoken whole."

quote: "Flash fiction may also be compressed, and with pressure comes intensity."

quote: "A good piece of flash fiction doesn't just exist; it happens."

quote: "flash fictoin has been around since the beginning of fiction, especially if you include short narrative lyrics, Aesp's fables, and Biblical stories."

he mentions some odd contests, like 69-word ficton, and 55-word fiction

nanofiction is another term

quote: "For everything left out, an image or narrative segment comes to mind."

quote: "The point is not just to cram as much as possible into a line, though practicing the art of economy is always useful."

quote: "Making a few words stand in for a whole is a powerful effect that any good poet knows."

quote: "If art is life with the boring parts left out, as more than one commentator has quipped, short-shorts are both artful and artistic."

he provides list of some miniature genres: quote: "character sketches and diary entires, prose poems, and list stories."

quote: "Writing so that every word counts makes for powerful, memorable work."

quote: "Cut the opening, and get right to the point."

quote: "Focus on the one telling detail, not a full description."

quote: "Don't 'conclude,' but instead end with an action or an image."

[for this book, I stopped at Vignettes; there is going to be a lot of good material here I think]

For an image, I used Canva to make a graphic
with a quote from my notes (so this is a Tech Tip too).

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