Thursday, 14 July 2011
STORIES AS BEAUTIFUL BLASTS
I'm still at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, working hard. I got done what I needed to do, what I came here to achieve, so now I have space to freewheel a bit. Therefore, I am writing a new short story that occurred to me last week. It's exciting, starting something new but I also feel wary. What if it flops?
Then into my sightline pops this wonderful article called 'Beautiful Blasts' which is full of advice to short story writers from the super nice and talented Alison MacLeod (I met her in Cork at the Frank O'Connor Festival a few years ago.)
She says, 'You need to keep your nerve. You need to be willing to get it wrong.' OK, Alison, what else?
Answer: 'Don’t get obsessed by plot. Plot is just the vehicle that allows your character to unfold and to be seen. Avoid high drama. Less will be more, I promise.' I like it!
Alison also says: 'We’ll see the struggle (whether comic or poignant or startling) of someone struggling to be more fully himself, to be more fully alive. Truth will flare on the page.' That is a gem - 'struggling to be more fully himself'.
She urges us to read voraciously. Which I do anyway. I'm back to short stories after a long spell with novels and am LOVING them. I am finding Nam Le's work extraordinary and am looking forward to Yiyun Li's new book which is on its way to me. I feel a good and proper short story binge coming on. Yay!
The whole article is worth one read, then two, then one more for luck. Thank you, Alison.