Tag Archives: short stories

February is ‘Otherworldly Originals Month’ at Short Story Sunday!

February is ‘Otherworldly Originals Month’ at Short Story Sunday!.

 

(and a more personal update very soon 🙂

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Filed under Magazines, narrative, Writing

Why classic fairy tales are important (for children and adult alike)

I loved reading fairy tales. The classic ones, where the witch did end up burning in the oven, where the bad children were cooked in with the cookie dough, and so on.

I also love writing versions of fairy tales, inspired by Angela Carter‘s revisionist take in books such as The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories.

Certainly, there is more to fairy tales than meets the eye. However, I completely agree with Adam Gidwitz and what he writes in this article: In Defense of Real Fairy Tales. He refers in particular to the original versions of the Grimm tales, and to how much they are nowadays sweetened and diluted by the more contemporary versions, not to mention the Disney/Hollywood’s take on them.

Gidwitz says:

Why, contrary to adults’ expectations and apprehensions, are fairy tales so perfectly appropriate for these children?

In part, the form of the fairy tale offers a complete package: problem, trial, solution, judgment and punishment or reward. And there’s nothing in fairy tales (the real ones, the blood-dripping, gory, Blue Beard ones) that children don’t see daily in their exposure to media. With a major difference: the media communicate facts (or they should).

Fairy tales provide a narrative, and narrative is a way of making sense, of understanding, of imagining ourselves in extreme situations and be shown various possible actions and their consequences.

Narrative is the first tool we can offer the young ones to understand the world. Possibly new fairy tales are needed, but not necessarily, because the old ones deal with human nature, and human nature hasn’t really changed. You may send a message with pigeons, ravens or a text. But the courier doesn’t change the nature of your message: lie, trap, truth, good news. The message will arrive all the same.

Do you remember the fairy tales of your youth?

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Ghosts! Ghosts! Ghosts!

In case you’ve missed it, a collection of links to the Ghost Week on Tor dot com.

It’s a feast of articles, short stories (some favourites like Lovecraft and M. Twain) and more to entertain your dark, scary side 🙂

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Filed under Article, Fiction, Genre, Links, Non Fiction, Resources

How do we define weird fiction?

I like the idea of supporting and promoting weird fiction. Of course, how we define weird fiction may be vastly different, although intuitively we all know what weird fiction is. Or do we?

For me, weird fiction is fiction that follows its own logic, with a narrative path that may differ greatly from the usual. Often it’s fiction from another country/culture, and not necessarily just books. Film narrative varies a lot from country to country (Chinese films, Russian films, European films as opposed to Hollywood ones and so on). There may be a beginning, development and ending…or there may not be. Or not in this order.

How do you define weird fiction?

From time to time, I will share here a few links to interesting, weird, different fictions as I find them.

I found an article in LOCUS MAGAZINE, by writer and blogger Harry Markov, about a  short stories’ collection by Bulgarian writer Angel G. Angelov: The Act of  Walking on Water (2009). The collection sounds really interesting, and if you don’t know Locus Magazine, do keep an eye on it for science fiction and fantasy news and interviews and more in between.

Markov says of Angelov’s stories:

Angelov grows in magnitude and fuels stories with a unique brand of intellectual erotica, philosophical monologues and warped realities…..with a slight nod to the Lovecraftian philosophy of cosmicism.

Now, anyone that hints at Lovecraftian’s cosmicism is someone I’d like to read. I hope this collection gets translated into English (my chances of learning Bulgarian are very slim).

 

Another good place to find interesting and weird fiction is Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading.

Among the latest offering, a series of short stories by Alex Epstein’s, from his collection: For My Next Illusion I Will Use Wings caught my attention. It’s a very good example of what can be done with flash fiction / micro fiction.

[Alex Epstein] performs an act of distillation, capturing the very essence of fiction.

Epstein’s collection has been translated into English, so I hope to put my hands on it at some point! It makes me think of author Lydia Davis‘ style of writing and preference for short, and extremely short in some cases, fiction.

My style is a reaction to Proust’s long sentences

That’s what Davis says of her choice of short narratives in this Guardian interview. I personally loved Proust’s long sentences, but I also love Davis’ ability to be essential.

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Writers Event: National Flash Fiction Day

One international event for writers keen on flash fiction:

The National Flash Fiction Day: 16 May 2012

This event, organized by writer and lecturer Calum Kerr, celebrates the short story form. Check the website to know what events are being organized and where, how to get involved, competitions and more. You can also find Calum on Twitter: @calumkerr and follow National Flash Fiction Day here:  @nationalflashfd

To me, short fiction starts from the drabble – strictly 100 words only (stipulations can be made for including or excluding the title from this word count), then moving up to double or triple drabble. From 500 words upward it’s definitely flash fiction, up to the 1500/2000 words, and then we enter the realm of short stories. Others may think differently, though.

What’s your take on flash fiction and short fiction?

I want to read more in the field of short stories, but I do have one short stories collection to recommend:

love songs for the shy and cynical by Robert Shearman

I had the chance to meet Robert Shearman during my CW MA. Yes, he came with the shiny aura of being that Robert Shearman, Daleks writer extraordinaire (TV geeks unite), and also with the warmest personality and copies of his short stories collection. He signed it, I read it, I loved it. (I will review it in this blog soon).

As to flash fiction, have you written any? I have, and love it. The form is incredibly precise and restrictive, especially if you go for the strict word count, as I do. And yet, as the Oulipo theorists have shown, constraints can and do promote creativity, forcing writers to come up with innovative ways of writing. To know more about the Oulipo, you can check their website here (in French), a list of books written by Oulipo writers on the website Conversational Reading, and yes, wikipedia if you have to 😉

Do you like constraints in your writing (a fixed word count, a set theme, etc)?

 

This entry counts for MNINB April Platform Challenge Days 19, 20 and 21 (new post; editorial calendar; social media management tool)

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