Unit8A1 Form as Context - Unit 8B: Form as Context In this...

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Unit 8B: Form as Context In this unit we look at two literary forms: the short short story and the novel. We have looked at the novel and now we’ll study the characteristics of the short short story and explore the possibilities inherent in the form.
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Lesson One: the short short story • The short short story is roughly defined by its length: about 2,000 words or less. – We have already read a couple examples of this form. Remember “The Zebra Storyteller,” “No One’s a Mystery” and “Happy Endings”? • Defined in terms of genre, short short stories are similar to the anecdote, vignette, parable, poem, and the short story (Beaty 482).
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A Description from the O.Henry Short Short Competition (written by Laura Furman, http://www.randomhouse.com/anchor/ohenry/competition.html) “Short shorts have been written for centuries, even if they haven’t been called by that name. Writers---Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Katherine Anne Porter, Ursula LeGuin, Yukio Mishima--turned to the form when a story demanded compression and intensity rather than expansion and development. For as long as there have been stories there have been short shorts. To write a short short, find a story that wants to be told. Strip it down to what’s needed. Use language to give it life: Simple and direct. Or suggestive and metaphorical. Give it a voice all its own. How can a short short hold so much--a whole story, a whole world--and end so swiftly? The short short is packed with the same necessities as any other story--characters, place, plot, time, something to be revealed--but the short short is carry-on luggage, not a steamer trunk. Write your story. Cut it. Write it again. Cut it. Add, if you like. Write it again. It’s your story. It’s your one thousand words. By the way, you just read 179 words.
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The experience • The most accessible way to define the short short story may be through experiencing one. • Because of their length, they must be compact, carefully focused, and their impact is, as Beaty describes it, condensed. • They don’t take long to read, but I tend to agree
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2011 for the course ENG 227 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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Unit8A1 Form as Context - Unit 8B: Form as Context In this...

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