Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Toe Pinchers and Story Clippers

Besides writing, I'm still working on Halloween projects (started in January, sadly). I spent a weekend with my oldest daughter building a full-size toe-pincher coffin, which was a stretch for my sub par woodworking skills. But, it held together. My employer recently announced that they are selling my division off, and I will very likely be out of work soon, so I'm doing this thing as cheaply as I can...which means substituting manual labor and bailing wire solutions instead of buying the thing I actually need, which always takes more time. I love Halloween, though, and it's still worth it.

The wife and kids are off to Montana later this week, and, in addition to writing my big pink fanny off, I'm going to try and rig up my automation system: a motion detector in the coffin that lights up red and bangs and squeals when someone gets too close, like there is something not very darn nice in the coffin trying to get out. Should be fun, hopefully I have ten fingers when I'm done.
As a few folks have mentioned, Robert Swartwood is now taking subs for his hint fiction antho, to be published next year. Hint fiction has been around as a discussion topic for much of the year, but I suspect the majority of the folks who have read about it haven't tried it. If you haven't, take a swipe at it...it's different than micro-fiction, in that you really aren't trying to tell a story--you're hinting at a story. The goal, I guess, could be stated as: enough ambiguity so that people can read it and get different meanings (i.e., fill in the blanks and get different stories in their heads), but provides enough info to capture the reader. It's harder than it looks.

Whereas a micro story may say "As they lowered the coffin, I wondered how I would get along without her.", a hint story may say "I wondered if the inside of the coffin smelled like her pillow." or something like that. It's unclear, but makes you wonder what the larger story is, and makes your mind race to fill in the gray areas. If your hint fiction clip is a story by itself, you have failed. I tried once, when Robert had the kickoff contest on his blog--and I failed. I didn't try. Tonight, I started working on some serious entries; and as I do so, it strikes me that hint clips are almost closer to poetry than stories.

Anyway, visit http://www.robertswartwood.com/?page_id=8, and give it a shot. You'll be glad you did.


Natalie L. Sin said...

I'm quite tempted with the hint fiction. Perhaps tonight?

Aaron Polson said...

The whole hint fiction thing kicks my ass. I want to tell the story.

Sorry to hear about your job. But the coffin looks nice--and you can always add a pillow.

Barry Napier said...

See, I think it's awesome that you have unofficially started celebrating Halloween so early!

Jamie Eyberg said...

I wonder if you could rig a double light motion sensor with a red bulb and the other socket to a small, motor with an off balance wheel to knock around. Set it up on a 15 second timer or something like that. Looks good, have fun.

katey said...

That coffin looks completely fabulous. Pretty much the coolest Halloween project ever. I agree with Barry-- the earlier you start celebrating, the cooler.

K.C. Shaw said...

That coffin is awesome! And a great family project, of course. :)

I hope things work out okay with your job.