Thursday, 11 September 2008

Principles of a Story

Sorting some folders and trying to create some space for new books, I came across Principles of a Story, an interesting article about writing short stories by Raymond Carver. He wrote about everyday, normal, suburban life – if a women wrote about this subject it would have been banded domestic fiction but his writing was fresh, interesting and touched a nerve with people. Shortcuts, a 90s film, is based on several of Carver’s short stories being spliced together.

The article discusses Carver’s love of the short story and his opinion on what makes a champion narrative. I’ve picked out a few interesting points:

  • “It’s possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language…with immense, even startling power.”
  • “It is possible to write a line of seemingly innocuous dialogue and have it send a chill along the reader’s spine.”
  • “What creates tension in a piece of fiction is partly the way the concrete words are linked together to make up the visible action of the story.”
  • “The short story writer’s task is to invest the glimpse with all that is in this power.”

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