Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label LaPlante. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LaPlante. Show all posts

22 July, 2016

Alice LaPlante, The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing

Some of my favorite lines from Alice LaPlante's book, The Making of a Story. 

Chapter 2, page 58
"Rather, one of the first difficult lessons any writer must learn is how to trust his or her own personal insight and unique skills of observation, even when these conflict with accepted wisdom and the mass-produced images that bombard all of us daily."

page 59
"The concrete details anchor us in the specific moment at the same time that the images evoke deep, visceral, and--arguably--universal emotion."

page 65-66
LaPlante discusses Richard Hugo's idea of "triggering" and "real" subjects. It's a great explanation about what can trigger a poem or story and through the writing and discovering phases the real subject surfaces. "Because it is the writer's imagination that is choosing the next topic, because there must be some connection in the writer's brain (conscious or unconscious) that leads from one subject to another, then the sequence must be meaningful."

07 September, 2015

Joan Wickersham, "The Program"

An interesting story with a food addiction program as its subject matter and a theme about language and its usage and how word usage and choice alters and controls one's thoughts. And, in this case, actions, i.e., eating. "I think she's eating." The program becomes an active participant in the lives of its members, "The program nodded. The program understood."

"The Program" is written in second person point of view that reads like first person. Quoting from Alice LaPlante's book, The Making of a Story, "The 'you' is actually an inverted form of first person. That is, it is a first person narrator referring to himself or herself as 'you'--usually because they are dissociating themselves from distasteful thoughts, actions, or memories." Second person works well with this story and I can't imagine "The Program" written any other way. This story fulfills the Harvard Review's desire to publish works that exhibit, "...not experience itself in the end but the translation of experience into art."

In the editor's editorial in the Harvard Review, number 47, Christina Thompson, states about Wickersham's story, "'The Program' is narrated in an uncommon--and rather difficult--mode, which I was delighted to see her pull off." I agree. It's a fabulous work of art.

Harvard Review
Joan Wickersham