Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Long and the Short of It

Even though I'm in the midst of writing a long novel (in the region of 70,000 words), I'm also thinking hard about short short fiction - nano-fiction, micro-fiction, flash-fiction - even text fiction, where you have to try to tell a story in 160 characters. That's because I find myself doing, one way or another, writing workshops this spring. And even with the best will in the world, writing Lords of the Rings in a couple of hours just isn't going to happen.

So short it is.

(There's something very satisfying and clean about a complete story told in as few words as possible. You can learn a lot about controlling language when the canvas is small. I'll probably be musing more on the delights of short on Monday when I have another An Awfully Big Blog Adventure slot.)

The 2-hour "exciting challenge" workshop with 120 teenagers last week went well. Not perhaps the most intimate of events, and I regretted not being able to have them read what they'd written at the time - being able to respond and tweak what comes next as you go along is obviously the best way of doing these things. But it DID work. Great kids and excellent teachers - I look forward to seeing some of their writing over the next few weeks.

The next event couldn't be more different. I'm going to Islay to do a workshop with the Writing Circle there. I have basically a full day with 4 grown-up women, with a schedule that includes morning coffee, afternoon tea and an extended lunch break ... bliss. There are so many neat things we can do around the idea of the short short story on a day like that. As with the teenager event, I find myself with far more material than I can fit in. Never mind, that's what "What You Could Try Next" sheets are for. But I've already checked with the organiser that her group is up for naked Morris dancing. Her response was to laugh with delight. (That's what "Ha. Ha." means, right?)

One of the things I'll be pointing my ladies towards on the "What You Could Try Next" sheet is the new competition that Solidus Press is running. It's called Mibit. Each week, a new 300 word chunk of an ongoing story is put up on their website. Anyone can read what's been written so far and submit what they think happens next. I've put in a starter called "Out of the Cold Sea" and already the next bit is up there, written by Deborah Gregory. Already the story is racing off in directions I never would have thought of - exciting stuff!

Long and short - and this blog is getting long. So I'll cut it short for now, and hope to see you over on ABBA on Monday.

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. I love this photo. It's interesting that the photographer put the tall woman in heels (albeit discreet ones) and the short woman in flats. Hardly necessary, I'd have thought!


Post a Comment

<< Home