For my Creative Writing class that will meet later today, I have had to read three short stories written by class members. In class we will be discussing the stories, and offering criticisms to the authors.
After reading these stories I really think that I lost five or six IQ points.
The first story, the only reasonable one in the bunch, was cluttered, and if not for the last few paragraphs, was quite dull. The problem I had with the story, aside from the shoddy grammar, was that while the end of the story was supposed to be powerful, it was so disconnected from the rest of the story that it just felt out of place.
The second story was completely asinine. I don’t mind that the story was a disturbed and depraved, I really don’t. What I take issue with is when an author writes to solely embarrass, shock, or disturb their readers. After reading the story I got the impression that the author was derisively mocking the readers, saying “I made you read that. Weren’t you disgusted? I hope you feel as meaningless as I do, I want the world to be more miserable than I am.”
Not exactly my kind of fiction.
I couldn’t finish the last story. If asked my thoughts during class, I am going to readily admit I could not finish the story. Certainly many stores simply drop the reader into a situation, without background or character descriptions. I do not have problems with that particular literary form, but when the dialogue and the text offer no real ways of gleaning anything about the characters, it makes it very hard to read, especially when the story is quite lengthy.
Imagine attending an opera, one you have never seen before. The opera is to be performed in Italian, a language you do not understand. Normally, especially if you are familiar with opera, you can understand much of the story by paying close attention to the way the performers sing. The performance transcends language, and you “get it”.
Now imagine if those same performers did not sing, but simply read their pieces in a Ben Steinesque monotone voice. You would be confused and most likely would loose interest quickly. Well the third story did just that.