Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight

By Damon Knight

Distilled from many years of educating and perform, this publication deals transparent and direct recommendation on constitution, pacing, discussion, getting rules, operating with the subconscious, and extra. Newly revised and increased for this 3rd version, Creating brief Fiction is a well-liked and commonly depended on advisor to writing brief tales of originality, sturdiness, and caliber. Celebrated short-story writer and writing teacher Knight additionally comprises many examples and routines which have been powerful in school rooms and workshops everywhere.

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In "Not With a Bang," I began with a situation—a man condemned to death by the closing of a men's-room door. Emotion was implied by this; character and setting came later. In "Stranger Station," the setting camefirst—thevast, empty space station. In a story called "The Cage," I began with a character—an aging postal employee who has a secret even his wife doesn't know. Even when you begin with an abstract idea, you must follow it to a character, a setting, a situation, and an emotion before there can be a story.

It really doesn't seem to matter what the initial input is—it is just a starting point, like the grain of sand around which an oyster makes a pearl. Years ago I noticed that the running heads in a reference volume. The Index to the Science Fiction Magazines, sometimes formed coherent phrases. I wrote stories around two of these. " What the phrase suggested to me was a space satellite designed to receive visitors from other planets. I dropped that into the unconscious, and images of cold, isolation, and alienness began coming back.

Or, if you write it, you will feel an irresistible urge to cram all that information in. and it will anchor your story down like the buckshot in Mark Twain's jumping frog. An example: When I was planning the story "The Dying Man," I wanted a plausible way to extend human life indefinitely. I looked up "Aging" in the encyclopedia, and found out a little something about hormones and connective tissue, but that was not what I wanted. One of the charts in the article caught my eye, and after I thought about it I realized that it had given me a general answer to the problem.

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