Stories26 Jun 2013, Posted by Read My Story in
While I will occasionally share what I’m learning about self-publishing, and while I will shamelessly use this blog to drum up interest for my forthcoming novel Echo Still (have I mentioned it was recognized as a “Manuscript of Merit” by the Jewish Library Association of America’s Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition?), the focus of this blog is stories.
Writing stories. Reading stories. Teaching (with) stories.
So I thought during the summer, as I prepare my novel for self-publication, I would get this blog rolling by sharing some stories that I’ve written and published in the past decade. The first bunch of stories I’d like to share might fall into the category of flash fiction, although that was not my intent in writing them. In 2005 I was commissioned by a textbook publisher to write thirty 300-word stories to be used in a language arts text book. Each “mini-original” (as they were called) was designed to be read by students in advance of reading a longer literary selection anthologized in the textbook and to illustrate a particular aspect of how fiction works (e.g., mood, setting, point of view). Friends and family were stunned: “So you’re limited to 300 words to tell a story, you’ve got to illustrate internal conflict, and you’ve got to connect it thematically to another story? How can you work with so many limitations?” In fact, the experience was incredibly liberating. I came to understand the benefit of what John Gardner calls “enabling limitations.” In my experience, having very clear specs—and a firm deadline—gets the creative juices flowing a lot more readily than “Hey, write anything. Make sure it’s perfect. Show it to me when it’s done.”
Here’s mini-original #1, “To Know Freedom”
Robert stood on what looked like a narrow stone path, only the path didn’t go anywhere. Instead, it made a hexagon on the ground.
Robert re-read the directions Grandpa had scrawled from memory. Read more…