Fascinating, the number of formats out there. Longshot Island does me the favor to define precise criteria:
Usually stories with more characters work better than stories with fewer characters.
Check. Lots of spiky characters, that’s the easy bit.
We prefer shorter stories, 500 words to 2,500 in length.
Wordcount feels kind of low, even for shorts. The newbie writer goes search and finds confirmation. Cliff’s Notes provide a range of 1,000 to 20,000 words for short stories. A short short. Why not?
Except there is also this detail of a creative requirement:
We are looking for stories that surpass traditional genres. Slipstream. Steampunk. Subterranean. To name a few possibilities. We are looking for lost places. We want stories that make people laugh as well as cry. We want something different.
This calls for a quick check on Wikipedia.
Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction.
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrialsteam-powered machinery.
Subterranean fiction is a subgenre of adventure fiction which focuses on underground settings, sometimes at the center of the Earth or otherwise deep below the surface.
Interesting business model. Let’s try this and call it the 2k challenge.
Amazing, the amount of terminology one needs to master to discuss book quality issues. Newest addition, courtesy of Ally Machate, owner of The Writer’s Ally via LinkedIn: ‘Beat’, as in narrative beats.
Repetitive beats as one major cause of boredom, makes loads of sense. Even novice me experiences occasional rewriting urges associated with a feeling of ‘We’ve been there, haven’t we?’. The plot needs to progress, or the character to reveal one more trait, stalling is no good. But where to stop the pruning and condensing?
Can’t there be some fun in discovering how a previously revealed attitude becomes manifest in a novel situation? The personality-savvy reader enjoying to be able to guess how a certain character will struggle through a particular adversity?
I do wonder and won’t ask yet. One more future question. In the meantime, lets pay attention to the beats. This weekend will see one more back to beginnings rewriting round for Think-o-mat anyway.
One more LinkedIn learning, and I once again lost track of the advice, meaning I can’t thank the author personally. Bad Troim.
Anyway, I do recall the advice: “Know your target audience. ”
Well, this is either very easy or borderline impossible.
At first glance it’s a no-brainer: I’m the target audience. I’m first and foremost entertaining myself. Know this sounds like the admission of a bad neurosis. Bad luck. I’m having fun writing stupid stories in bad English. I need to practice my third language for day job purposes, and this is even more fun than reading The Guardian and The Economist, listening to npr and watching CNN or BBC World.
The author of the advice assumes that any writer longs for as large an audience as possible. For purse and/or pride reasons. Let’s pretend for a second to be affected by this particular delusion.
If what is supposed to be my target audience shares traits with me, the following preferences prevail:
- Escapism through entertainment: Laugh and puzzle good. Deep thoughts bad, unless they come in light doses and funny wraps.
- Linguistic simplicity: Fine to occasionally need Google translate and reread some sentences. ‘Occasionally’. ‘Some’.
- Race, gender and class stereotypes as well as gross violence, especially torture, are no entertainment, they are plain yuck.
Simple preferences. But how to find people sharing them? This list doesn’t easily translate into conventional sociological categories. I’ll settle for knowing my audience’s preferences without having the slightest clue how to reach it.
In principle, Think-o-mat doesn’t progress too badly, on the plot and character side of issues. Chapter 6 will be available by the end of the week. But style remains a huge concern…
The third language issue is solved by having been declared a feature.
Rewriting after a gap of at least one day is both a must and fine. At least half of the first version of any scene is found guilty of verbosity and goes trash while the rest is subjected to mood stress tests and has to survive a couple of permutations. So far, so fine. Long live the memory of Saint Steve, inventor of the tablet without all this wouldn’t be possible.
What really sucks is my obsession with optical balance. No writer should worry about a single small word ending up all alone in a new line. This is irrelevant. In todays eWorld, line breaks vary according to gadgets. I know it. I tell myself to ignore optical balance. And end up spending time on dreaming up constructions that don’t sound too bad while looking more balanced. Bad Troim! Probably correlated to my Duck-on-Wall tick. Or trick.
Wonder if other writers, especially real, professional ones, experience similar kinds of bias. Don’t dare raise the question in one of the LinkedIn groups. Yet.