Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Play it Safe or Break the Rules?

“The premise I am promoting here is not that one should irreverently disregard the well-established rules of creative fiction, but that when the author's judgment, coming from whatever source, urges breaking the rules, it is worth taking the risk, so that one's work may have the opportunity of achieving greatness and not be merely good by playing it safe.” -- Hugh Rosen in Following the Rules of Creating Fiction: But How Far?

I’ve attempted to break the rules in a few recent efforts, specifically the idea that a work must be a complete story. I read a few articles espousing the idea that flash fiction, in particular, lends itself to vignettes and other forms that do not include the goal, obstacle, revelation, and resolution format found in short stories and novels. Have I been successful? Kind of. I did have one story published that I consider more of a vignette because the character has no revelation, nor changes in any way. He’s the same person from beginning to end. Other than that, my other attempts have been rejected multiple times. Maybe if I were as famous in the field as the authors/educators who wrote the articles, I would have more luck getting these stories placed. Or maybe they just aren’t interesting reads.

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