Life in progress

Am I wrong?

26 Comments

When I write short fiction, I like people to have to think about what they’ve read. I tend not to over-explain things – I think of short fiction the way I think of a joke. If you have to explain it, it loses something.

My father had a very dry sense of humour. Think John Cleese, and you’ll have an idea of what my dad was like. For years I didn’t “get” his jokes – say from the ages of 0 to 4. After that I learned to think about what I was being told, and to this day I prefer dry humour over any other kind. So my fiction – at least anything shorter than a novel – leans that way, especially the funny fiction. It’s different with longer works. I know when I don’t understand a novel I usually end up putting it down because it only gets worse.

But I often wonder if I’m being too obscure. Take the little story I wrote yesterday. It makes sense if you can figure out what I’ve done with it… but I have no idea if anyone who read it, did.Β  If you’d like to humour me and give it a read, it’s only about 100 words long. Here it is: http://lindaghillfiction.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/fishin-pole-blues/

Otherwise, I’d like to hear from you. What do you prefer? Do you like to think about what you read in fiction? Or do you prefer to have it all laid out?

 

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

26 thoughts on “Am I wrong?

  1. I like it to think about a story but if it gets too complicated I get bored but that’s just me I suppose. I did not figure your story out either but laughed and wondered anyway…. never mind πŸ™‚

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  2. Well, I liked it, but it’s not my favorite, lol!

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  3. Linda I have said this before and I shall say it again you are a star. How could your boys be anything else than happy look at the example you give them. I want to hug your boy too….shall I just stand in line! xxx

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  4. I like a story that has me thinking days after I’ve finished reading it. I don’t like it when a writer gives me too much information because I feel like I’m being forced to think a certain way. Let the story write itself, and let it speak to the reader the way it wants to! πŸ™‚

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  5. I like it short and when I feel invited to think too and I like your humour Linda πŸ™‚

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  6. Most of what I write is short fiction in clusters. I like stories that make me think ABOUT things, and I don’t mind a story that makes me work a little to understand it, but if an author’s whole purpose in writing something is to confound the reader, I feel like my time has been wasted. There’s a trust between an author and a reader that a story is a journey they’re going on together. Nothing wrong with a little obscurity; everything doesn’t need to be spelled out, but an author’s job is to facilitate a journey, so, whenever I’m concerned that my audience might not “get”something, I add more detail clues rather than explanation.

    Anyway, I did get it. I think.

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    • Thanks for your insight, Rose. That’s great advice for any writer – to facilitate the reader’s journey, whether it be by foreshadowing or giving little hints along the way. That’s why I keep my more obscure stories very short. πŸ™‚ I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  7. I like it. It’s short and cute and the obscurity is nice. It’s not the kind of obscurity where I can’t follow it, it’s the kind where you have to think for a second. When I have to think for a second I feel the writer has given me the benefit of the doubt as to whether or not I have a modicum of sense.

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  8. Yes, I figured it out. It doesn’t quite work for me personally, though, and I think the reason why is that my background is so urban that the central conceit (in the poetic sense) is purely a figure of speech to me–I don’t have a practical context and so it comes across more as just a set up for the punchline than an actual narrative.

    Short-short (or flash) fiction is really hard. I can’t do anything in a hundred words or less, myself. I write “a guy walks into a bar” and by the time I’m done talking about the neon beer signs I’ve over a thousand words.

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    • With as many farms as I’ve worked on, I’ve never actually tried it myself, so there you go. Just a figure of speech. To be honest, I had no idea what I was writing until I got to the end. I titled it afterward.

      You say, I write β€œa guy walks into a bar” and by the time I’m done talking about the neon beer signs I’ve over a thousand words. … but you write narrative so well it doesn’t feel like a thousand words! You’re that good! πŸ™‚ I can’t seem to get down anything between 800 words and 50,000. πŸ˜›

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  9. My 2 cents:
    I guess if it is left obscure, there will be different ways to envision it. But again that can be in favor if it is within the context of the story where there is a small break required. But in some cases, like doing the Sherlock thing, Watson can get real angry if it is not explained because he has no way to help out and Watson can’t be bright all the times πŸ™‚

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    • Haha! You have a point. I suppose some things are better off being left up for interpretation than others. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your 2 cents. That’ll be 5 in Canada – we’ve done away with the penny. πŸ˜‰

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  10. I liked the short. It took me a couple seconds to get it, but once I did I laughed. Personally, I like things that make me think – puzzles, mystery novels, witty humor , etc. (Probably one reason I’ve also been partial to the Marx Bros.) But I don’t want to have to think to much. So yes, I enjoyed your cute short story.

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    • Thanks, Jeanne. πŸ™‚ Yes, I go crazy without something to write, something interesting to read or a puzzle to solve as well. I’m glad you got a laugh out of it. πŸ˜€

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  11. “It makes sense if you can figure out what I’ve done with it.” Did I figure out what you did? Neigh, snort. I don’t know. But either way, I enjoyed it.

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