Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jennifer Pelland: Confessions of a Serial Short Story Writer

Over at Apex there is an article up from Jennifer Pelland where she writes about why she hasn't / won't return to any of the worlds created in her short stories.

I find an idea, woo it, play with it until it bores me, and then move on to the next idea that entices me with a flash of comely ankle. The thought of expanding “Captive Girl” into a novel fills me with horror. How could I possibly lengthen that story without ruining it? Suggestions that I use the world of “Brushstrokes” as the setting for a novel leave me boggled. That world was created strictly to prop up that one story–surely no other story will fit into it.

Other than than the fact that I wouldn't mind more from the worlds of "Captive Girl" and "Mercytanks", I do get it. The stories were great and they were complete, but because the stories were great I want more story.

Pelland writes later:
what’s the point in going back to see how Big Sister is getting along in “Big Sister/Little Sister,” or seeing how well Marika and Alice’s relationship is going in “Captive Girl?” Maybe if I didn’t put my characters through such massive trauma over the course of their stories, I’d have something to revisit. But what’s the appeal in that?
My answer to that would be that Marika and Alice don't have to be the focus of the new story, but there is so much going on that we never see that I have to believe that there are more stories to tell. Not that I want Pelland (or anyone) to write stories they're not fully behind because then the story would suffer.

It's that natural inclination, though, to wonder what happens next or what is happening over there where the camera isn't pointing.

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