clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Praise of Analytics

AT left, Tom Perrotta's edit of The Best American Short Stories 2012.

In 2010, Mr. Perrotta's story "The Smile on Happy Chang's Face" was a "one city/one story"  work for the city of Boston. That's where I first read him. Authors writing in this century are hard for me to get through with only bedtime reading.

"Happy Chang" is also a great example of a 1st person POV with a sympathetic but flawed character.

I'm applying the analytic part of the brain to this fine collection of short stories for a review of the mechanics of the structure, characterization, and techniques of conveying emotional aspects of the inner and outer conflict.

Many of the folks I know in the "late to writing"  movement have successful careers elsewhere - often where the analytic part of the brain dominates. I am too slow in turning those techniques of analyzing literature back to current works to see what there is in the craft that I do not know.

Most of us have at least a couple undergraduate classes in fiction. We remember the techniques of slicing the principle mechanisms of a work into arguments for essays. We remember applying the basics of analytic thought to the contribution of various components.

What I personally did not do was look into a book or story from the writer's perspective. I answered questions of efficacy regarding some material point of interest to me rather than review the work for things that improved my writing. I analyzed as a reader and not a writer. (I analyzed to take a class that might have a girl in it, but that's another problem).

I'm applying my analytic brain to the stories in the above anthology. It's part of the applied education business I've neglected thus far this year.

What are you doing as craft development? I'd love to hear.

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