|Night Light at Apostle Islands
Photographers: Mark Weller, John Rummel, Ian Weller
I spend a lot of time reading and critiquing stories in progress, both in person and for the online writers’ groups that I’m involved with. I’ve blogged about how important this is, but what I’ve been missing out on (and didn’t even realize), was the pleasure of working with a finished and excellent story.
Lucky for us Anaea Lay has started the Craft Crucible over on her blog. Every Wednesday she’s posting an exemplary story along with her critical breakdown. It isn’t about finding fault with great stories, it’s about finding out what makes them tick. There are a million different ways for a story to fail and almost as many ways for one to succeed. Sadly, no simple formulas for us writers. Turns out, looking at why and how a story succeeds is just as important as finding out why a broken or unfinished story fails. And the best part about the Craft Crucible is that you can play along too!
Below are some of my thoughts on the stories she’s covered so far. I’ve included links in for the stories, so you can read them first, because SPOILERS. Also, click on the Craft Crucible links to read Anaea’s insights!
|And check out Pank while you’re at it!|
Yesterday’s story was Seven Items in Jason Reynolds’ Jacket Pocket, Two Days After His Suicide, As Found by his Eight-Year-Old Brother, Grady by Robert Swartwood. Go on over and read it. It’s an excellent example of a flash story, and won’t take you more than a couple minutes to read. Then check out Anaea’s thoughts. Here’s a bit of my response:
“It’s well done all the way through, but what brings it to the next level for me, is Grady’s age and persistent innocence. His age and the title seem, at first, to be just a ploy to make the story more poignant, but by the end it projects Grady’s inevitable loss of innocence. Swartwood essentially wrote the first half of the story and invites the reader to become the storyteller, and imagine Grady growing older and coming to understand the terrible solution to the puzzle pieces that these objects in Jason’s jacket represent.”