On the writing front, I’ve been exploring some experimental writing these last few months. You know how writing prompts and exercises push you to attempt different forms? Here’s my list of the kinds of stories I want to write:
- List form
- Epistolary story
- Second person story
- Diary entry
- News items
- First person plural
- Chats, tweets or blog-posts
There are other kinds, of course, like prose poetry or dialogue-only stories, but the seven above are the ones I feel most comfortable about trying out.
Each form, I believe, serves a different purpose. The content should be appropriate to and suited to the form, and the form should not be a gimmick. If it is, the reader can easily figure it out and there won’t be any pleasure in either the reading or the writing of such a story.
Each form warrants a certain kind of story, or a certain kind of protagonist. I cannot think of taking any of my stories and rewriting them in one of the ways given above. It simply wouldn’t suit. So instead, I trawl my trove of ideas to find one that will suit the form and make the story come alive.
Of all the above, I have tried a list-type story last month, which went in as my September entry for the Short Story Challenge. I’ve also tried a story written in first-person plural, as in ‘we did this’ and ‘we did that’. For a fabulous example of how to pull this off, please read Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris.
To get these stories working and in publishable shape requires more effort than traditional stories, but I think its worth it just to stretch that creative muscle. Even if its not good enough to be published, it counts as valuable writing practice and a great opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t, and also to help us writers identify strengths and weaknesses.
Have you tried any experimental stories? Can you think of any other experimental forms to add to the list above?