Tuesday, January 24, 2006

(ssf) shortbread

I was just talking to someone who asked if I was going to post my short short fiction class offerings on my blog. At first my impulse was no, with the rationale of it not being something I want to inflict on the public, but then I realized that it really can't be much different from already inflicting this blog on the public. But then I decided I would only post them as PDFs, so that the casual or inadvertent observer of JFW wouldn't just have it thrust upon them unawares. Showing someone your short short fiction is not quite so intimate as showing them your etchings, but still.

We were supposed to write two stories for this week. One is called "Shortbread" and currently weighs in at a portly 415 words. Whatever longtime readers of this blog still exist may recognize that parts are based on an old post. If you want to read it, you can click here. If not, fine. Better, even, maybe. If you have any constructive suggestions between now and 8 EST, let me know. Please note: "You suck and your stories suck even more" is not a constructive suggestion.

Update, 5pm: Slightly revised in response to comments.

Update, 7pm: Penultimate line revised. I'm beginning to worry that short short fiction might not be very compatible with certain obsessive tendencies of mine. The brevity allows one to fuss over every word.

Update, next day: Okay, so I revised it again. It's down to only 406 words now, though.


Anonymous said...

Jeremy, that is some funny stuff. I laughed so hard I had buttermilk shooting out of my nose.

Anonymous said...

I concur. I liked it very much. You're amusing both in the mornings AND in the evenings. Too bad not everyone is.

-Elbert (your biggest fan)

sarahliz said...

I really liked it. But the second to last line didn't work for me for some reason. There's something about it that strikes me as jarring compared to the rest of that character's lines. Or maybe the logic of it just doesn't click for me. On the other hand, the last line is utterly brilliant. If it were me, I'd try to tweak that second to last line so that you still end up at the last line but you don't open up this whole question of what it means to make the journey from funny, to clever, to alone.

jeremy said...

Yeah, the three lines the woman says that are comments on the relationship, I don't really like them but am not sure what to do. Especially the next to last one. I think I should probably do something more muted. Let me know if you have any ideas.

jeremy said...

Okay, that was unclear. Anyway, I agree that the second to last line doesn't really work. I've tried many candidates for it.

Anonymous said...

Right now, seems more a monologue.
Hard to envision two separate people talking to one another like this, unless they're really great pals and like to call and horse around verbally, absurdly and
see how far they can take it.

As a monologue, the humor is surreal, an imagery of 'alone' as an echo chamber of the mind that can haunt.

As a dialogue, seems more between two guys (not a he and a she) and sets up their characters nicely. 'I don't want to see you' signals to me that it will be wordplay. I want to know what happens next. and see you develop their characters this way.

But your ending seems better suited to the monologue. Sad.


Anonymous said...

I thought that the class was in ss fiction. Just one real comment. Both persons seem like the type who have a history of bantering. Why would it, therefore, drive one of the two out the door?
-- kestrel sr.

Teddy Love said...

OK, so I didn't as much laugh as I cringed. But definitely, an evocative little story. The tension is so palpable ... especially speaking as a woman who has had similar conversations with ex's who had a hard time doing sad and a much easier time doing witty little wordsmith. So, yeah, I thought the dialogue was completely believeable. Here's what I'd do at the end, though. The problem is we already know this is "bantering" so you don't have to tell us. It should just conclude something like ...

“It's hard to put on weight when your intestines have been replaced by a giant tapeworm.”

“I'm hanging up now. Goodbye."

“God, you know what? I bet that tapeworm is really, really sick of butter.”

sarahliz said...

You know, I'd do something a little less explicit with that line. You've already said the "this is why I left" thing. Maybe that second to last line should be something just very blunt like "you aren't funny." You want to convey frustration while leading up to that last line. But you want something that also sounds like authentic banter.

jeremy said...

I adored T-Love's suggestion. I have made copies with "This is why I left you. I'm hanging up now." AND with just "I'm hanging up now." as the second to last line. I'm not sure which I will actually deliver to the class. Thanks all for comments. Indeed, I wonder if the comments from the class itself will be as useful.

Kestrel SR: Nowadays, when someone writes a memoir, everyone thinks it's really fiction. And when someone writes fiction, everyone thinks it's memoir. While 'tis true that I have my own conversation about raw butter in my past, the content, context, and consequence has been radically altered for the story.