Sunday, May 10, 2009

Like a Regular Story but Short!

So, what is a short story? How does it work exactly. I've always had some problem with this, I'll just outline why before I continue.

When I pick up a good book it goes through a life cycle. The first step is the phase where I'm still getting used to the characters, the authors style and things like that. This is usualy the make or break phase and if I'm going to give up the book before finishing it, it will be in this phase.

The second phase is the escalation. You are now used to the authors style and the world, you are probably have a good idea of what the book has to offer at this stage. In some books this phase can be huge, in others it can be short or even non existent.

The final stage is the resolution. I find all the work gone into sticking with the book pays off at this point. I'd alike it to a balloon being inflated and then realeased. This is the high point of the book in terms of the enjoyment of reading. Things start resolving, some of the questions are answered, it's essentialy the big pay off.

Now, that's my interpretation of how a novel works anyway. So let's compare that to a short story. Does a short story contain all of these sections as well? Or should it consist of only one or two of them? Can a good short story be an excellent introduction to nothing? I don't see how it works as a medium. I'm sure it does, I just don't know where to start in producing it.

I was reading some Philip K. Dick short stories over the weekend. Some of them were like sections from novels. One in particular "The black box" took the form of an escalation. Not giving much time to exposition and appearing for the most part like an excerpt from a larger novel, not having a beginning or an end. Is that good? I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't really have an ending. It was pretty much as good as I could imagine a short story being, but it just wasn't fulfilling.

Well, I got nine hundred words of my first short story done earlier today. I suppose I'll just have to see how I get along with it.

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