***This post is the fourth in a series of eight. From now through September I'll be posting weekly exercises designed to take our short stories from rough draft to finished "masterpiece"(or as close as we can get ;-) with the help of the late John Gardner and a host of other well-known authors and teachers. Click here for Part I ***
Last week we worked on how to convince the reader that there's a good possibility our protagonists might change their ways by the end of our stories--even if they don’t end up changing at all. If nothing else we’ve at least shown that they’re capable of change, thereby keeping the reader in suspense until the end of the story. And for those of us whose protagonists do change, we’ve come up with a list of incidents designed to convince our readers that the character’s change is not only plausible but, in hindsight, inevitable. Surprising, but inevitable… that’s the key.
Lan Samantha Chang: "Time and Order: The Art of Sequencing,"from Creating Fiction (edited by Julie Checkoway)
James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
James Baldwin: "Sonny's Blues" from his collection of short stories titled Going To Meet The Man