Writing the Short Story

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
Jack Kerouac


Writing the Short Story

A short story is fun to read and write. A small idea gets flushed out and presented on paper and it sits there quite nice. We could use many more books of short stories.

It is a bit irksome that all of the rules had to be broken.

A lot of people are encouraged to break the rules, think outside of the box and all of those hook phrases. But, the whole thing is really bogus.

One breaks the rules to call attention to themselves. Jumping up and down, “Look at me, I am breaking the rules!” Then everyone rushes over to see the rule broken and almost misses the content or message delivered.

Let’s take a look at E. E. Cummings. Now that guy was a very good poet and writer. I wonder why he had to do such grandstanding by dropping the caps? It got him attention and a place in history, that is for sure.

Same with Kerouac, he announced that he was breaking the rules and got the attention. Then everyone had to go read his stuff. Some say it was pretty good.

If we could be honest for a moment and see it for what it is, then we could look past the rules broken as a clever gimmick.

Being a rule breaker is really stupid. I am reminded of the years spent in art school when painting inside the lines was a conservative thing to do. I tell ya, looking at the parking lot would drive you crazy! These head-in-the-sky artists could not park between the lines to save their souls.

“Dude, I like your use of negative space.”

“Like all of the empty space left when no one can get past my back bumper?”

“You are making a statement.”

“Everyone is pissed at me.”

“Well, they should be.”

You will find that all the rules have been broken. And most of the rules are not things to gripe about, they give you a space to create within. Gesture has no meaning without context. No color is funny. Clever is exhausting. Shut up, sit down and tell a story.

 

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