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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Bones of a Story" Published in Metazen

Just in time for Christmas! "Bones of a Story," a piece I wrote in order to slyly rant about contemporary fiction is appearing now in Metazen. It had to go to Metazen, meta-lit mag par excellence, because it lacks the plot structure it seems so concerned with. The pompous narrator pretends to know everything about writing, but, given the sample, is never really in control of his/her craft. The bone element comes from an essay I was required to read in one of my creative writing courses, "Your Story's Bone Structure." Just the title rankled me, almost too much for me to read the rest of it! I felt strongly that structure would flow naturally from my own sense of narrative, conflict, and resolution as I worked out the plot. I wanted unusual, probably lopsided stories, like the overall structure of The Princess Bride. I didn't want some dry sage to make me write the same old boring thing.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this non-story is that it mentions plot elements I was occupied with at the time, whether in reading or writing.

The old lady who eats sticks of chalk to combat osteoporosis eventually became the mysterious stranger in "Calcium-Rich," which you can read at Short, Fast, and Deadly.

I think the old lady with the switchblade comes from the spark I was infusing my characters with in Tree/House.

The man who swallows the rabbit bone comes directly from the vellum pages of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, patronized by Alfonso X el Sabio.

The woman who believes she's turning into a rhinoceros is Allie, the protagonist of one of my favorite stories ever, "Rhinoceros Dreams," recently published in This Mutant Life.

And that last bit about bones in the feet, really happened to my mother (the ever-inspiring!).

Enjoy the rant!