Microfiction to Short Story, Part 3 – Choose the Right Style

by Bill Henderson

Scary House

...it had the look of a crack house. At night there was an unreal darkness behind its windows. You could tell nobody lived in it.

I like to write characters who are introspective, observant, and articulate. These qualities presuppose a fluency of style well adapted for making fiction.

But the language of “Driving Shades” is tightly limited to simple, everyday words and phrases.

It’s a character narration, so the level of expression must mirror the language of the character-narrator, an ordinary guy from an ordinary home in an ordinary small town. The problem is, the events he lives in this story are beyond ordinary, and well beyond the capabilities of his normal language. I had to make do with a smaller vocabulary, not only of words, but of phrases, expressions, references.

If you enjoy doing beautiful things with language, this kind of challenge might go across your grain. But I find it fun to work with less––kind of like playing golf using only a couple of irons and a putter. Eloquence of effect doesn’t necessarily call for scintillating turns of phrase. Even Shakespeare’s writing, when the action becomes gut-level intense, drops down to words of mostly a single syllable. (Scintillating, by the way, is a word I’d never use in “Driving Shades.”)

Read the whole story. Click here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Gregg Logan November 14, 2011 at 1:40 am

Enjoying the story, I’m hooked. Well done!

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