Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Questions Raised by Stories

How much do you want, or need, to give away? How explicit do you need to be? Where is the line between "showing" and "telling"? How much can be revealed in the course of telling the story? These are some of the questions that came to mind as I was reading the latest round of short stories. "Another Word for Map is Faith" by Christopher Rowe had a pretty interesting premise: basically a group of people who were "correcting" the physical world so it would match what their maps showed. (There was a religious element to it, hence the word "faith" in the title.) Though it was interesting, it was hard to understand at first because the premise wasn't explained, but unfolded gradually. Certainly, that should be the story is told, but I felt a little more explanation was called for. Next I read a story by Ira Sher called "Lionflower Hedge" which, at barely two pages long, didn't seem to have enough space to develop. "A Fearful Symmetry" by Minsoo Kang also suffered from not having enough room to develop, I thought. It contained several stories being told that had to do with Korea and military bases. It reminded me a bit of the recently-reread The Things They Carried, one of my favorite novels, though the Kang story was nowhere nearly as good. One of my favorite stories so far was "Messages" by Brett Alexander Savory. This story, though relatively short at ten pages, did take its time to develop its plot. I don't want to give a lot away, but it was a very odd situation, but the "explanations" for the situation, revealed slowly over the course of the story, really made sense in the way it unfolded. It kind of showed me the "right" way to do that, which I'd been questioning over the previous couple of days.


OpenID jack-yoniga said...

Hey, there. Thanks so much for the kind words about my story "Messages." Certainly made me smile and definitely made my day.


Brett Alexander Savory

10:38 AM  

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