Podcast #28 is now available for download here.
This is part 2 of a two-part podcast. You can find part 1 in Podcast #27. In his guest lecture at Odyssey 2003, Bruce Holland Rogers discussed narrative theory and the importance of structure. Structure can provide a story with unity and can give an author direction. In this podcast, Bruce explains his own use of structure in flash fiction and continues his fascinating list of various structures that can work well for short stories and very well for short shorts. These include the story in which a character has an epiphany; the ethnographic story; the story that parodies a familiar short document; the story of a character interacting with another and changing direction; the story that’s like a picture that can be interpreted in two ways; the traditional story that is compressed; the story of thesis, antithesis, synthesis; the ellipsis that relies on the reader’s knowledge of the form, so he can fill in what’s missing; the suspense story predicated upon unusual attitudes or activities that puzzle the reader; the logical progression from an absurd premise; the story in which the thing that never happens, happens this one time; and the story that subverts an expected strategy or structure. Bruce discusses the requirements and goals of these various structures and provides examples from his own work.
Bruce Holland Rogers has a home base in Eugene, Oregon, the tie-dye capital of the world. His fiction is all over the literary map. Some of it is SF, some is fantasy, some is literary. He has written mysteries, experimental fiction, and work that’s hard to label.
For six years, Bruce wrote a column about the spiritual and psychological challenges of full-time fiction writing for Speculations magazine. Many of those columns have been collected in a book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (an alternate selection of the Writers Digest Book Club). He is a motivational speaker and trains workers and managers in creativity and practical problem solving.
He has taught creative writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois. Bruce has also taught non-credit courses for the University of Colorado, Carroll College, the University of Wisconsin, and the private Flatiron Fiction Workshop. He makes frequent appearances at writer’s conferences. He is currently a member of the permanent faculty at the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, a low-residency program that stands alone and is not affiliated with a college or university. It is the first and so far only program of its kind. Bruce offers an annual subscription to his short stories, emailing out a story to subscribers every three weeks for a mere $10. You can find out more at www.shortshortshort.com.
For more information about Odyssey, its graduates and instructors, please visit our website at http://www.odysseyworkshop.org.