Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Was I just talking about short narrative? Hmmm.....

Well, I just wrote something about short narrative, so to balance things out ...

Gangrey.com posted that this story is a finalist in some magazine award contest. I or someone else may have written about it before, but if you haven't read it, it's worth the read. (UPDATE: It was someone else. Thanks, Jeff.) It's about the trip home of a soldier who died in combat. And it's very, very long.

It's incredibly ambitious -- from the practically minute-by-minute, scene-by-scene reporting to the reverse chronological structure of the story. But Chris Jones, the writer, obviously was able to pull it off.

If you read it, try to use what's in the story to deconstruct the things he did, from concept to reporting to focusing to organizing to writing to revising. As a bonus, the Esquire page has a link to an interview with Jones about the story (warning -- right now I can't get the Esquire site to do anything but load the first page of the story).

Anyway, the thing I try to do with stories like these is not figure out how I could write (or help you write) that story. I try to learn from the things Chris Jones did in order to apply them to the next story I'm working on, and the one after that, and the one after that ... so that I'm essentially developing a greater ability to do the things that make a story good. That, I think, helps me get ready for when the really great story comes along.