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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Oh. Well. Dude. This is why I don't enjoy writing short fiction:… 
6th-Jul-2009 02:19 pm
Alice: World of my own
Oh. Well. Dude. This is why I don't enjoy writing short fiction: because the short stories are about things. Ideas, events, objects.

The novels are about people.

6th-Jul-2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
Hey, your Vegas story in Ravens in the Library is one of the best short stories I've ever read.
6th-Jul-2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Meep. Thank you! :)

(But Vegas is more of a person than a place to me....)
(Deleted comment)
6th-Jul-2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Sorry; thought you knew that.

Darling! Remember that my trains of thought derail after a station or two; don't assume I've figured anything totally out. :)

Remember how long it took me to figure out that "When Her Eyes Open" was autobiographical?

It's why my stories with sock-puppet characters nonetheless work; the story is more about the idea, so there's not enough time to notice that all of my characters are just me from a different perspective.

I notice, but I know you well. And, well, I kinda like you. So I like reading about you.
6th-Jul-2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Can't a short story be about a person, though? I know it's a bit cliche at this point, but the whole idea of the Joycean short story formula (i.e. the epiphany) was an immediate change in a person, right?
6th-Jul-2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
It can. And my story "The Angel of Fremont Street" definitely is. But the ones I've been trying to write are more idea- or event-based, when what's more natural for me is disappearing into a person and letting the plot arise from who they are.
6th-Jul-2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, how do you mean "idea" or "event" based? I ask this because I recently met with a former teacher of mine who said he was fed up with fiction, specifically American fiction, and it's dependence on the Joycean formula.
6th-Jul-2009 06:48 pm (UTC) - Oh really?
If you say so...
6th-Jul-2009 06:51 pm (UTC) - Re: Oh really?
I do. Have you read any of my short stories?
6th-Jul-2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I wonder if mine breaks down in any discernible way.

I think all of my stories are about the People, but I'll bet there are different ways I present them.

Perhaps when I actually finish a book All Will Be Made Clear.
6th-Jul-2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
I posit that it's possible to write a short story about a person, it just takes a lot of finesse.
6th-Jul-2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
People are the only thing I know how to write about.

Which may explain a few things...
6th-Jul-2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
That is truly thought-provoking, but after a bit of thought, I'm pretty sure I disagree. Somewhat. I think there's less room in a short story to explore a character in depth, but nevertheless I've seen it done, and done very well. The author certainly has to make choices about how much to explore a character, how much to explore an idea, but in either case a skilled writer can do either, or both.

I think the difference is more like the difference between a charcoal sketch and an oil painting. The oil painting will usually have more detail, but the charcoal sketch might still catch a particular quality of the subject's eyes. And maybe do a better job of it sometimes, because just as charcoal gives the artist more control than oils, so the short story allows the writer to control the language more precisely.
6th-Jul-2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
Which sort of reminds me of David Byrne's quote: "I try to write about small things: paper, animals, a house. Love is kind of big."
7th-Jul-2009 03:25 am (UTC)
I must be like this too. EVERY single one, and I really do mean EVERY, of my short pieces turns into a long one.

It's also getting to the point that I feel itchy and unsatisfied if I like characters, and the author only gives them one book to shine.
8th-Jul-2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
Whereas I always start by writing about places, and then wait and see who wanders into them, and what happens.
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