Monday, May 6, 2013

Random Mortem

Short fiction is hard. I've said it before, and I'll repeat it until I get sick of myself saying it.

In books, wasted time is measured in chapters. Short stories, pages. When your word limit is in or near the triple digits, words trickle away from you like grains of sand.

You wind up doling out double duty to everything. Dialogue doesn't just convey words, it describes the speakers and the environment. If you give a physical description it has to convey background as well. Everything conveys characterization and if a sentence doesn't drive the plot forward, you have to kill it or replace it with something that does.

And on top of all of that, you have to have a point much earlier than in other forms. You can noodle around for pages when writing something longer until you get to something that resembles a plot. In flash fiction, not so much.

If anything, it feels like writing a joke. You picture yourself reading to an easily bored audience, constantly having to reassure them that there's a payoff coming very shortly.


Random Wikipedia gave me "Sirusho," a young Armenian pop singer who's fairly big in Greece at the moment. I wound up Youtubing some of her songs. Very catchy, actually, if you're into vaguely-Bollywood-sounding bubblegum.

The second or third thing that came to mind immediately was a young death metal enthusiast with a very limited conception of evil, dabbling in amateur thaumaturgy. I think it worked out okay. I started off with a resolution to not describe him directly much, but had to break it near the end, after the Devil wandered off. Annoying, but necessary to the punchline.

...and I just realized I'd been misspelling her name all this time. D'oh.

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