I’ve found myself experimenting with stories recently, which is a bit surprising since I’ve been writing on and off for most of my life and haven’t typically been too experimental. But lately I’ve concocted three different experiments.
First, I wrote a story in an unusual style. Rather than the narration and dialogue that typify most tales, “Testimony” is a science fiction tale told as a condemned prisoner’s appeal to a planetary governor. More unusual still, due to a nefarious form of espionage technology, the condemned has no memory of events and must rely upon the testimony given by others to construct his defense.
Second, by way of illustrating the writing process, I wrote two stories, revised them, and polished them “as readers watch.” Obviously readers weren’t really watching, but I annotated these works as I developed them, to show my thought processes. The first story, “Zoe,” is one of my recent favorites. I presented it in both first draft with annotations and final draft without annotations. The second story, “The Test,” was presented in three drafts, first, revised, and final, with annotations on the first and revised drafts. Taken together, these two experiments offer a number of insights into the writing process.
Finally, “The Stones on the Shore” was originally written as a flash fiction story, then expanded to a longer short story. This is an interesting creative exercise, because every story has its natural length. You can’t just lengthen a story. It changes in the process. In this case, a new character appeared in the longer version, and the ending differs significantly.
I hope you enjoy all of these experiments. Feel free to let me know what you think.