Short story series?

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steve
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Re: Short story series?

Post by steve » December 1st, 2010, 12:13 pm

Mike Dickson wrote:Just had a thought. Can one write a series of short stories about the same plot but from different characters pov?

If so, is it marketable?
Sounds tedious, the same plot over and over and over and over.

David Mitchell tried something interesting with his debut GHOSTWRITTEN.

You might want to give it a read.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.

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Mike Dickson
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Re: Short story series?

Post by Mike Dickson » December 1st, 2010, 12:51 pm

polymath wrote:The greater challenge would in my estimation be handling of multiple reader surrogates. If all the focal characters are intended as reader surrogates I think that's a daunting task, but theoretically doable.

I don't understand what you mean by that Polymath.

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polymath
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Re: Short story series?

Post by polymath » December 1st, 2010, 1:04 pm

A reader surrogate is someone or in some cases something readers vicariously closely accompany through a narrative. Multiple viewpoint character narratives typically have a central character reader surrogate, a protagonist whose complication stands above others and experiences the most profound transformation.

Given what you've indicated, I'm seeing multiple reader surrogates, one each for each short story installment. That's the challenge I see. One way past the challenge is a thematic reader surrogate, where a central theme or idea is what readers accompany as bystanders. Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears uses that idea complication method to tie together five or six or so central characters, with Clancy's stock protagonist Jack Ryan coming in late in the novel. Nuclear terrorism is the unifying theme, the idea complication.
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Mike Dickson
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Re: Short story series?

Post by Mike Dickson » December 1st, 2010, 2:17 pm

Ah ha! That makes sense. I see the challenge. You know this thread started as just a passing idea but it's becoming increasingly intriguing to me. It might actually be fun to do during my hibernation over the next 6 months. I can't stand winter.

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polymath
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Re: Short story series?

Post by polymath » December 1st, 2010, 2:50 pm

Cool, I'd say you've got a tiger by the tail there. I believe what you suggest hasn't been done exactly as you propose. The Alice Childress novel example comes close. It's a series of dramatic monologue recitations not so much a dramatic reeanctment. Tell versus show. It's that kind of progressive concept the literary world devours and wins prestigious prizes. On top of that, dramatic reenactments with readily accessible high-concept premises favor mass culture appeal. The best of two worlds, oh my.
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Jessi Heinrich
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Re: Short story series?

Post by Jessi Heinrich » December 3rd, 2010, 7:38 pm

Personally, I love the idea. Chuck Palahniuk did it with Haunted. He wrote a main story and then a series of stories that each related to the main and tied into it in some way. It was fascinating to read and one of the bests of his (if not the most disturbing). I think that as long as it is done in a way that keeps the reader entertained in whatever world you're writing, it's marketable.

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sarahdee
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Re: Short story series?

Post by sarahdee » December 14th, 2010, 4:04 am

Cloud Atlas is another e.g. of several very loosely connected stories and is very well done.

The only thing I can think of thats the same story but different view points is Vantage Point (the film not a book) but that worked well. Depends how much repeating there was perhaps....

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RedBrick
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Re: Short story series?

Post by RedBrick » December 19th, 2010, 5:02 am

This is a great thread w/ a challenge many writers
have taken up. I'd recommend reading
SWEET HEREAFTER by Russell Banks. Banks writes superbly crafted
novels in a wide range of topics. You always learn from reading
Banks, both about the story he's writing and his craft.

I read SWEET HEREAFTER many years ago, based upon a true story about
a tragic school bus accident in which many children died. I know, many may
be put off by that, but read it. The story is told from different POV of people
in the little Adirondacks community. To this day, I still remember the chill
I felt finishing the chapter of the school bus plunging into a frozen lake, the next
chapter begins w/ the driver behind the bus who saw it all happen,
powerless and stunned.

Read it. Feel the chill. You'll never forget it.

Jack Erickson
Author of PERFECT CRIME, short mysteries
and suspense novels published at Kindle and other ereaders.
Web site: http://www.jackerickson.com <http://www.jackerickson.com/>

Peter00
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Re: Short story series?

Post by Peter00 » December 30th, 2010, 7:01 am

It is a very good idea in fact. Surely you can.

xouba
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Re: Short story series?

Post by xouba » January 5th, 2011, 2:41 am

The series "Song of Fire and Ice", by George R. R. Martin, is written somewhat like this. Each chapter is a character's POV.

It works very well, or else the series wouldn't be so famous. But the problem is when you hate some of the characters, and skim through their chapters. It happened to me, at least :-)

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