Posts Tagged ‘genre’

A List as Literature

Friday, December 7th, 2012
story as list

Beaumont Hardy helps you navigate the short story landscape.

Here at Beaumont Hardy, we still think writers can learn a great deal from the submission guidelines of publications listed in places like Duotrope. In studying the submission guidelines of Words and Images, the literary magazine from the University of Southern Maine, we came upon an interesting genre writers might want to explore further. Words and Images is eager to read all types of prose, and among their interests, they mention “to-do lists.” We like the idea of a list that can function as a compelling piece of prose or even as a story, and we wonder how such a literary piece would function.

Someone suggested the following list, which hints at a larger story, perhaps even a mystery.

1. Clean windows

2. Get telescope out of attic

3. Check sighting device

4. Confirm Lefty’s schedule

5. Tell Shirley to take the kids to the movies

6. Borrow silencer from Vinnie

The problem is that a list of this type tends to feel heavy-handed in its attempt to convey plot. Perhaps a list functions better as a mere suggesting of an emotion or an experience. Consider the following list.

1. Wash beach towel

2. Put away sunscreen

3. Give umbrella and picnic basket to Goodwill

4. Delete photos from camera

5. Call Stacy re. girls’ night out

What do you think of a list as literature? How would you create a scintillating list? Please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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