Really short stories

Could you write a short story in just six words? Hemingway did it with “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Wired magazine challenged some of the best science fiction, horror and fantasy writers of our time and they’ve come put with amusingly clever prose. Here are some of my favourites:

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
Margaret Atwood

Epitaph: Foolish humans, never escaped Earth.
Vernor Vinge

We went solar; sun went nova. –
Ken MacLeod

Harry Harrison

And here’s my own very short story, which I hope would not be mankind’s story in the future.

Climate change conspiracy theories wrong. Help!

Published in: on November 16, 2006 at 12:20 pm  Comments (1)  

To Write an Aussie Story

I’ve been racking my brain since yesterday to come up with an idea for a short story. The deadline for the short story contest is next week and I have yet to type a single word. It’s been a while since I wrote a short story and it was in Tagalog to boot.

Now, I have to come up with a good premise that would be appealing to a primarily Australian readership (not to mention, the judges). There is also the added challenge of writing the dialog in a convincing Australian style.

As an example, I could write a friendly conversation this way:

John: “Hey, Mark! How’re you doing?”
Mark: “John! Yeah, I’m fine.”
John: “So, this is your new car. Looks pretty slick, pal.”
Mark: “You think so? You wanna take her out for a spin?”
John: “For real? Cool! You’re the best, man!”

But, I think it would read more Australian if I write it this way:

John: ‘Oi, Mark! How’s it going?’
Mark: ‘John! I’m good, mate. Yourself?’
John: ‘I’m good. And this must be your new ride. Looks like a bloody beauty, mate.’
Mark: ‘You reckon? You wanna give her a go?’
John: ‘Fair dinkum? Awesome, mate. You legend!’

Okay, so maybe two Australians probably won’t speak exactly the way I wrote it down in the second version but the thing is, I will never know for sure. I’m not a native Australian speaker to begin with. The best I can do is observe and try to mimic their speech patterns. And that’s what I’m worried about. A true-blue Aussie would probably pick up that my version of the dialog isn’t “fair dinkum” at all. That’s why I’m thinking of just writing the way I’ve always wrote. That is, in a more American-slanted English.

Another way I’m thinking of getting around this problem with the speech pattern is to have the lead character a migrant or something. This way, I can write the story in first person and have the migrant narrate the whole thing. It will explain why the writing doesn’t follow Australian conventions except when actual Australian characters speak up in the story.

Well, this problem is actually further down the track. In the meantime, I must first think of a story to write. I wish I come up with something real soon.

Published in: on August 21, 2006 at 12:30 pm  Comments (4)