Friday, June 29, 2007

They call me MISTER Oulipian

So, I stumbled upon this blog post over at The Mumpsimus and thought it a good idea, especially since I consider the prospect of writing a novel daunting.

Yes, I know, my last post was titled Novel in Progress, but the truth of the matter is I'm a short story writer through and through. And yes, I know that as long as I continue to perceive myself as a short story writer, I won't write anything but short stories. Right now, I'm fine with that.

My writing strengths are much more appropriate for and conducive to shorter fiction pieces. This is not to say that I will never attempt to write a novel, though--I will. Mentally, I'm just not quite ready to do so, yet.

Instead, I'm writing multiple 7,499-word short stories sharing the same world, characters, elements, and roughly, storyline. I'm not sure how may short stories there will be (I won't know until I'm done, as I have no pre-set number), but I'll pace them like novelettes.

I've already been doing something similar for years now with my literary fiction, but after the third or fourth story in a series, I had more ideas than words. Much of the problem was the pieces were more slice-of-life vignettes than short stories in the traditional sense, and didn't do much to add to the overall story arc.

Also, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted the overall story arc to be. But with this renewed focus for my science fiction, I have a rough but complete story arc, as well a few finished interconnected short stories.

The task now is to flesh them out somewhat, make sure they mesh, and work my way through the story arc in 7,499 words a story--no more, no less.

Thanks to Matt Cheney for encouraging the Oulipian Challenge.

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