I love Esquire’s web site, especially the fiction area. Good reads, very edgy. During my last visit, I noticed the Napkin Fiction page, where authors are asked to pen a story on a paper napkin.
In the good old days when I was 1. poor, 2. a teenager, and 3. in love, I used to write song lyrics and poems on napkins. And Taco Bell wrappers. And the paper a bottle of Metaxa comes in. And the back of my NSP bill (that’s the power company in Minnesota). And I know this because I still have these remnants of my misbegotten prose in my hope chest.
We know from the archeological data that I ate fast food, was plenty high and my heat was on, necessary in St. Paul in January.
I’m terrible when it comes to condensation. I love to blather on and on about the inconsequential, which is the gong of death for a writer. I have a very difficult time writing flash fiction or stories in 1,000 words or less. The first time I wrote a 50-word story, it ended up being six 50-word stories. You can imagine the pain I was in writing a six-word story.
Today, I decided to initiate my own enforced short fiction experiment, using the Napkin Fiction as a guide. I find modern paper napkins highly undesirable for writing. They’re cheaply made and only a very good ball point pen would not rip it to shreds. Paper towels absorb too much ink. I don’t eat at Taco Bell much anymore (too salty for my tastes) and I’m a slob and can’t believe I actually finished a combo burrito without dripping any green sauce on the wrappings or on my lap. (Back in 1975, I was always hungry. Not much was going to escape.)
Instead, I decided to take over one of my daughter’s never-used spiral notebooks from high school. It has a pretty green and pink cover and the pages are perforated. It’s small enough to carry around with me.
I have dubbed this experiment The One Page Stories.
The stories are limited to one sheaf of paper. I can use both sides, and I can condense my handwriting to get as much info as I can on the paper, meaning margins are used and my teeny-weeny penmanship employed. (Teeny-weeny handwriting was da bomb when I was in college and the profs would let us bring in a single sheet of notes for the final. Yeah…I was on that one.)
The One Big Rule for One Page Stories is that once I start, I can’t stop until the story is finished. This is a tough rule for a chronic procrastinator and a sufferer of adult onset ADD.
Yesterday I wrote a quick one, then transferred it to my computer. It was quirky and odd, an elementary aged story – 599 words. I liked it.
I think I might have something here.