Friday, May 17, 2013

Who writes short, short... stories?

May is National Short Story Month, and we hope you've had a chance to browse our display on the first floor of the library. Last week's blog post with recommendations for Tenth of December and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, may've tipped you to the fact that I'm a fan of short fiction. Or maybe you were left wondering if I'd gotten lost looking for Janet Evanovich or James Patterson? The short story love probably would've been more obvious if I'd had time to include a short review of  Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her*.

Either way, the focus today is on short shorts. Really short stories. Sometimes referred to as microfiction, sometimes as flash fiction, the idea is to tell an entire story in the smallest number of words possible.

Lou Beach's 420 Characters is a collection of this type of short fiction. Beach started crafting these stories to fit within the restrictions of the 420 character limit to a Facebook status update. Occasionally you'll see someone who attempts to write stories within the confines of a Twitter update, which limits the author to 140 characters.

Ernest Hemingway is often cited as the progenitor of the short fiction movement, as the author of the variously punctuated "For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn." Unfortunately, there's no proof that Hemingway wrote this story. Still, you can let this famous six word story serve as inspiration! That's right, we're asking you to try your hand at flash fiction. You can check out the stories already posted to our Facebook event page, and share your own creations here or there.

Looking for more information?

*Extra short review of This is How You Lose Her: It's excellent. There are swear words. You don't have to have read The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao to enjoy it, but it does add to the experience.

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