Narrative Folks: This is simply a quick-reference listing of stories to discuss—a tool. It is a place to read only, not to discuss or post. In the Narrative Group folder, you will find these same stories, with topics for discussion. When you have a story to post here—either one of yours or one for group study—please send me the url and I will post.
Lethal Gene, NY Times
Camille, Miami New Times
Black and White, NY Times
Ring of Regret, St. Pete Times
Cheerleader, St. Pete Times
Reading Throne, Lincoln Journal Star
Outsiders, LA Times
Liam’s War at Home
(A note on the writing of The War at Home.
When beginning to think about how to write this piece, I tried to think about unifying factors I could use structurally to allow the form of the piece to follow what I was trying to say about the situation. Obviously, chronology was the first idea, but I quickly dismissed it because I could not conceive of a way to make it work.
As I continued to pour through my notes, the vibrancy of some of the scenes continued to pull at me. It eventually clicked that by writing the story as a series of scenes--or fragments--that I could mirror the disarray that had occurred in this Marine’s mind since his accident, caused by pieces or fragments of shrapnel. This approach would take me away from simple chronology, give me a unifying force and allow me to burden the reader with the same heavy weight the Marine feels.
The trick then was to sell the structure to the reader. I admit there are probably too many scenes and some run too long, this was cut down from about 30 scenes to start to the final 17. In terms of order, I knew the placement of a few at the start and the rest had to fall into place. I really had to SELL the structure in the first scene, so I tried to explain what I was doing without making it entirely transparent. I also knew I wanted the greatest contrast between scenes in the middle (8-9, tucking in kids vs. killing XX people) to create a hinge for the rest of the piece. I also knew everyone would want to know how the Marine got injured so I wanted to save that toward near the end so that people would need to get there and keep reading.
Through the editing process, the most common criticism I received was that people were lost chronologically. This made sense. I was doing something unorthodox and screwing around with time and place. As a result, I figured in order for the story to work I had to spell out time in place as early in each scene as possible. In most cases, you’ll find a time and place reference as early as the first sentence and almost certainly in the first graf of each section.)