Thursday, May 28, 2009

May is National Short Story Month

Dang. Almost missed it. In a typical K-Ferg move I will celebrate, tardy-style.

Today, while attempting once again to pass my day in a writerly fashion yet not writing, I found this tidbit in my MFA notes, a quote from Padgett Powell on how to evaluate if a story is worth telling.

The deal is you ask these three questions, and you should receive these three answers:

1) Did this really happen? (emphatic no)

2) Could this have happened? (...maybe...)

3) Should it have happened? (YES)

A little internet search yielded these Rules of Fiction from an interview with Padgett Powell in The Believer:

"Rule 1 is The Gosling Rule. The story concerns the first thing the reader sees move. Rule 2 is that the problem, or the apparent and necessarily related problem, must appear soon, in the first paragraph if not the first sentence. Rule 3 is a complex function [wh = f(c1,c2,c3... + e + t)] involving withholding. Rule 4 is the bar test: everything must be said more or less as if you might say it to a stranger in a bar. Rule 5 is the doozie quotient."

The quote then goes on to relate a version of Rule 7, which I typed above.

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