Friday, March 4, 2011

Story Patterns

In short stories writers often use patterns to organize their stories.  Some of the ones I’ve found most interesting, and have used, are:

“Mother” by Grace Paley: A flash in five paragraphs, each paragraph is a separate image, organized by someone looking through a doorway.

“Pumpkins” by Francine Prose: A flash where a word or thought in the last line of one paragraph is used in the first sentence of the following paragraph.  The story starts with pumpkins falling off of a truck and ends with a therapist reminiscing about his childhood.  And it all hangs together.

“On Watching Her Husband Duel” by Michael Garriga: A duel between two men told three times, from the point of view of the opponent, the husband and the wife.

Then there is the classic pattern suggested by Robert Olen Butler in From Where You Dream

 

Anyone read other ones worthy of emulation?

 

Townsend Walker

 

 

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