Tag Archives: Michael Martone

Avoiding Complication

31 Aug

I finally picked up the craft book Rules of Thumb, edited by Michael Martone and Susan Neville, and I wanted to mention an early piece on “Complexity” by Paul Maliszewski. He talks about reading work by students who avoid complication in their stories—one student puts and keeps a husband in a coma while the wife rails at his recent sins, but, of course, rails alone—and how much playing it so safe drains the story of any energy. I’m not doing him justice, so you’ll have to get the book, but I wanted to remind myself and any writer friends following this project: Don’t skip the hard stuff! A character gets fired but you skipped the firing? Why? A woman leaves her husband but you don’t give us the scene when he catches her packing? What gives? The story is supposed to be about the hard stuff. Take a deep breath, and, yeah, go there.

Back to 7!

20 Jul

I don’t know. Nothing was coming to me and the minutes were ticking away. I thought again about Michael Martone’s Four for a Quarter and how we should try arbitrary forms for stories and so again the number 7 comes flying at me and then… I’m off and running.

Working Title: 7 Confusions
1st Sentence: Confusion #1. The big one.
Favorite Sentence: We may never know if a Neanderthal could say, “I had pierced the mastodon with an arrow when I realized that I did not have my hacksaw.”
Word Length: 1,101

Photo by Ökologix, 2007.

7 Still on the Brain

7 Jul

I so love my vision for this one but the draft is a truly stunning failure. I’ll come back to it because dammit I have to be able to execute better than this. Frustrating.

Working Title: The 7 Wonders of Annabelle’s World
1st Sentence: Follow me, if you will, to Annabelle’s bookshelf, where we find the song book she made last Christmas.
Favorite Sentence: Note the detail on the center rocks, where Annabelle used red nail polish to paint hearts denoting her profound and abiding love for Milliker.
Word Length: 821

Image of the 7 wonders of the ancient world by Slof, August 2006.

Still Tired but More Inspired

4 Jul

Happy July 4! Very quiet plans here, mostly working, working, working on the site…. As for today’s shorty, stuck with it for quite a while to try to make something of it and I do like this one. I’m noticing a trend of a sort of quirky narrative shape, lately. Maybe because for a while now—since the last week of June—I’ve been discovering my endings only just as I get to them, rather than stumbling onto them with almost the first line, as is my usual habit.

Working Title: Mirror, Mirror
1st Sentence: To say that she fears mirrors is just unfair, it’s blowing the whole thing out of proportion.
Favorite Sentence: Does she know that it gives her smile a tiny notch, a cleft that makes him catch his breath, makes him think, what else do I know about her that she doesn’t know herself?
Word Length: 584

Photo by Jurii, May 2009.