A quick note before I begin: I started participating in #StorySaturday, self publishing my fiction, because I didn't think I would be able to do my MFA, and thought it would be a good solution for growing an audience and build my own writing community so I could eventually find my way to the larger publishing opportunities I'm seeking.
Now that I am doing my masters, though, I want to give myself the best possible shot at journal publications for my short fiction that I can, so instead I'll just be talking a little about what I have cooking.
So what is that this time?
My next short story is about a more than slightly supernatural cat written in the style of a BuzzFeed article. It's interesting puzzling out how that works. There are a couple considerations as I'm working through it. What is the tone of BuzzFeed's type of content? What is the frequency and placement of text versus imagery that makes those articles so readable? And how do I convey those articles' visual elements purely in text?
Another influence I didn't expect to have, but keep finding myself returning to, is the found footage movie. Prominent examples in my mind are Josh Trank's Chronicle and M. Night Shymalan's The Visit. Not really because they're classics, but because the former stands out as an example of a cool concept hampered by its format, and the other stands out as one that took the format and elevated it with a bit of traditional cinema's elegant flair. Seriously, some of the compositions in The Visit are way too good to be in a found footage movie, and I think of it as a good recent example of how a storyteller both used a conceit and knew when to break its rules.
(Aside: Friends—and honestly, people on the Internet who I just know—will argue that District 9 would be a much better example to use here. I agree that it's a much better film. I don't hold it up here, though, because Blomkamp starts that movie with the documentary format, then abandons it entirely. He just does it so elegantly and with such momentum that the switch to the more traditional action format is almost impossible to notice on a first viewing.)
In this roundabout way, then, I'm reminding myself of a mission we're all familiar with when we sit down to write: learn the rules of the game, then listen to instinct, and know when to break them.