A narrative game I’m playing

Along with the ongoing rewrite of The Sleep of Reason, I’ve been fooling around with a few short stories, and one of them has been coming along quite nicely.

I feel as though it is finished at just 1,200+ words, and that is perfectly fine if it covers the story to be told, but it does seem a bit skimpy. Part of the reason it has remained short is that I want the story to be completely stripped of emotion because that is how the central character feels. I want the telling to inform the story.

The narrative is sparse, the description is minimal, even the vocabulary is stripped down to common, basic words as much as possible. I haven’t even give names to the two characters who have dialogue. It is supposed to be an emotionless story about an emotionless person. I want it to be antiseptic, unaffected, even clinical.

To maintain this emotionless tone, I’ve chosen as my narrator the character herself, but she is telling the story in the third person. She is speaking about herself as a different person. She is so emotionless about the matter of the story that she is able to step back so far from it that she can see herself as a subject, a case even.

This is only evident to me as the writer. It’s a technique I’m using to help me control the tone and diction. A casual reader would never understand that the character is telling a story about herself. But as a writing tool, it seems to be working well for me.

Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, short stories

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