This month’s theme at StoryADay is the idea of alternative stories: writing new stories in other people’s universes. This can mean fan fiction or it can mean taking folk tales, history, or myth and writing in that. Perhaps you and a writing buddy swap universes for a day and you write about their characters for a change.
Stay tuned each Wednesday this month for more ways to play in other people’s sandboxes.
Yesterday, people in the UK celebrated Guy Fawkes’ Day, a family friendly festival celebrating the gruesome end of a would-be revolutionary. Write a story inspired by that of Guy Fawkes
Julia found it in a pile of old stuff. She didn’t want it so she said she would give it to Therese.
I love this as an example of starting in medias res. We dont know what it is of who they are, but THEY do.
In medias res means in the middle of things but it doesn’t necessarily mean a car chase or a fight. In the middle of a conversation where the participants know their world better than we do, counts too.
The Reading Room is a series of posts where I review short stories with a writers’ eye.
“It was back in those days. Claudius Van Clyde and I stood on the edge of the dancing crowd, each of us already three bottles into one brand of magic brew, blasted by the music throbbing from the speakers. But we weren’t listening to the songs. I’d been speaking into the open shell of his ears since we’ve gotten to the party, shouting a bunch of mopey stuff about my father. Sometime around the witching hour, he stopped his perfunctory nodding and pointed towards the staircase of the house. “Check out these biddies,” he said. Past the heads of the dancers and would-be seducers I too saw the two girls he meant.”
Today’s Write On Wednesday prompt was inspired by reading Wendell Berry’s story The Great Interruption: The Story of a Famous Story of Old Port William and How It Ceased To Be Told (1935-1978) in this year’s Best American Short Stories. (Read my review here.)
Write a story from your childhood memories, keeping in mind your audience and what changes there have been since the time of your story
This story’s full title is The Great Interruption: The Story of A Famous Story of Old Port William and How It Ceased To Be Told (1935-1978). It’s a great example of the benefits of writing a lot, and never trying to sound like anyone else.
The style of this short story was a challenge, for me. Its long, complex sentences, so unlike most of what I read these days, slowed me down. In fact, I had to read a page or so, out loud, to get myself into the rhythm of the narrator’s voice.
Even the title was confusing—until I untangled it, when it became intriguing.
It read like Mark Twain, like Charles Dickens: of a time and place that is not mine.
But I knew straight away it was going to be worth it. Here’s how it starts.