Flash Fiction Discussion Thread

Apologies for the cross-post, but I know there are a lot of writers who follow me here!

Over at my other site, I’m starting a discussion thread on flash fiction, that seemingly ubiquitous beast of  the modern age.

Flash fiction has been a weird thing for me to wrap my head around lately, and I really want to hear from more writers about their thoughts. So please, hop over there to share your thoughts!

 

triangulating the text

So a while ago I started posting chapters of a novel online before I panicked and took them down after realizing that they (a) weren’t at the calibre I could achieve, and (b) were not going to be produced as expediently as I hoped.

I’ve since been working on it again.

The pitch for In What World is thus:

Willa and Liz are Brokers: thieves and smugglers for hire who hop realms, solving mysteries and having adventures along the way. Each realm is a genre – Urban Fantasy, Space Opera, Dystopia – and each realm has Rules. It’s time to see if those Rules can be broken.

I decided to shift the tone of book (first in a series maybe?) when I stepped back and started examining what sort of genre satires and parodies I enjoyed myself. And I realized that I preferred riffs on genre that don’t make fun of the genre in as much as they exemplify it.

Think The Naked Gun versus Hot Fuzz. I mean, we all love Leslie Neilsen, but Hot Fuzz is a masterpiece. And you don’t have to get all the jokes in order to enjoy it. You can take it as an action film. You can take it as a satire. Because of this intersection, you can take is as a deeper meditation on genre and storytelling.

I’m at the point where, to get to the heart of each genre/realm, I’ve had to establish a reference point. A generic (literally generic) fog in my head was just not cutting it anymore.

IMG_2193So what I ended up doing was trying to figure out three texts for each realm/genre as I want to showcase it that I would use as three points of a triangle of the genre, with the intersection between then being what I was aiming for.

I’m not necessarily going for the most perfect representation of the genre, but rather what elements I want to pull from it. For instance, my three texts for a pirate realm are Treasure Island, On Stranger Tides and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

Treasure Island skews classic ur-text; On Stranger Tides brings in the possible supernatural/myth-involved portion (it was the base text for the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie); and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle pulls towards a female protagonist, an outsider to this world, as well as wider historical context.

Is this a ridiculously formal and quantitative way to approach something as subjective as art? Oh hells yes. But, it really helped me find my focus so I could do more than just spout genre references, like, say, National Lampoon.

And I don’t want readers to have to have read Le Morte D’ArthurGrimm’s Fairy Tales, and The Lais of Marie de France into order to “get” the non-specific fantasy realm I’ve dropped my characters in. Rather, these texts contains the elements that have seeped into our implicit and subconscious understanding of this genre.

Anyway, all these texts (expect for the ones I’m still hunting bookstores for) are on my desk for easy reference. It’s a glorious thing.

 

Untitled

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

hark! a prophecy!

1979738_10152198477557550_1451357022_nIn the hallowed halls of Main Street, in the aptly named Cottage Bistro, there shall be a gathering, and this gathering shall be called “The Launch! with PRISM, Event, poetry is dead, and Room Magazine.”

The date of this party shall be the seventeenth of April (a Thursday, methinks), in the year of 2014.

And the time of this event shall be seven in the evening.

And there one Ashleigh of House Rajala shall go forth and read aloud the words issued by her own hand.

Or, in the words of the event organizers:

Please join us as we celebrate our latest issues and the spirit of literary magazines in BC!! With special musical guests ‘Vocal Jazz Jam with Woolysock Band.’ Readers include: Billeh Nickerson, Dina Del Bucchia, Ashleigh Rajala, and Karen Lee. Our MC is Elizabeth Bachinsky!

In other news, I’m running out of creative ways to make simple announcements.

to read or not to read: morrissey’s autobiography

One of the things I am going to miss about Britain (more on that later) is the fact that Morrissey releasing an autobiography warrants not just mentions on the news but also hardcore, “man-on-the-street” journalism. Truly, the public needed to know what the average Mancunian thought of Morrissey. We needed to know, I tell you!

I knew the autobiography existed beforehand, but never gave it that much thought. I like The Smiths, but I’m rather agnostic when it comes to Morrissey himself. It’s not that I don’t know whether he’s a genius or a douchebag, but I accept the fact that it is impossible for meagre human beings to actually know whether he’s a genius or a douchebag. (And most of what one considers post-punk proves the two are not mutually exclusive.)

However, watching the frontman for a Smiths cover band read excerpts, interspersed with what could have been the cast of Coronation Street singing the praises of praise-worthy singing, made me think I might actually want to pick up this tome. But on the other hand…. do I?

41hB6XoG4DL._Pro: Exciting revelations like he was targeted by the Special Branch and he never had a serious relationship until he was thirty-five.

Con: Give it a week and these revelations will be on his Wikipedia page.

Pro: He uses phrases like “Kafka-esque.”

Con: See above.

Pros: It’s been heralded in some reviews with such laudits as “the best written musical autobiography since Bob Dylan’s Chronicles.” (The Telegraph)

Cons: But The Independent called it “droning narcissism and the whine of self-pity.”

Pro: I really like The Smiths because I am a cliche apparently.

Con: It looked really long when they showed it on TV.

Pro: I really like the Penguin Classics cover.

Con: And the fact that it’s just called Autobiography.

Wait, but I said I liked that. But it is rather pretentious without much substance other than the pretension itself, which is really kind of the point… but… medium… message… art… music… brain… knot….

Oh crap. I will just have to wait until we get to the Manchester airport, where it will inevitably be on every wire rack in every W.H. Smith’s across that aerial sprawl, and decide then.

sfu writer’s studio reading series

I will not be reading from ‘pirates in space.’ Sorry.

If you, like most of humanity, find me charming, intelligent, affable and engaging as hell to listen to, then thank whichever god you think created you because I am going to be doing a reading! If you find me to be none of the above, then luckily for you there will be other readers as well.

This is all part of the SFU Writer’s Studio Reading Series, more details on which you can find here.

7 pm, July 15, 2011 @ Take 5 Café (429 Granville Street at Hastings, in downtown Vancouver)

So join me alongside several other local writers, where I’ll be reading some stuff from projects I’ve been working on and possibly some short fiction. Things might get interesting.