Friday, March 12, 2010

Fine-Tuning the Short Story: With Christiana Langenberg

This Word for Words segment features multi-award-winning author, writer and professor Christiana Langenberg. Also an award-winning short story writer, Christiana has authored the compilation Half of What I Know, and a number of short pieces.

In Half of What I Know, Christiana shows the results of fine short story writing, and discusses the challenges of that genre.

AA: What do you find most challenging about writing shorter pieces?

CL: Several things. It can be difficult to follow the initial impulse to write a story and trust that eventually the characters will reveal the plot, etc., to me as they themselves develop.

AA: What types of things do you have to decide?

CL: Point of view (usually first or second for me, though occasionally third) and then figuring out if there's going to be something particular about the way the narrative is shaped can also take lots of rumination (I long ago discovered these things can't be rushed).

AA: Do you adopt any techniques to help with the process?

CL: I try not to talk about stories when I'm working on them because I feel it takes away the energy from the writing. I also do not show any of my close editor/friends any drafts until I'm fairly sure the story is nearly completely finished. I then use feedback to fine-tune certain scenes or images and to verify that the beginnings (maybe more importantly the endings) work. Another couple of revisions later, and the story is usually ready to send out for publication.

For Christiana's Half of What I Know, visit Christiana Langenberg.

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