Friday, November 20, 2015

On List Stories



13 Reasons Why I Hate* List Stories

  1. List stories are a form of epistolary stories.  This isn't a bad thing per se, but the reader knows the protagonist-writer isn't dead, or at least has survived whatever plot (if any) complications, so the story tension feels flat.

  2. List stories typically have no setting, which contributes to the feel of a "talking heads" story.

  3. List stories are sometimes not lists, as if the story has realized that it needs characters interacting, an interesting setting, or a plot.  Suddenly the list form falls away and actual story elements break out of the constraints of the list's structure, like birds breaking out of a birdcage.

  4. List stories, when they have any plot at all, are usually reveal-stories.  So you get to the end and the account trails off because the list maker is dead, or insane, or eaten, or is really an alien.

  5. Also; why are we going through a dead/insane/digested/alien person's personal scraps of paper?

  6. They are a form of writers bitching writing about writing.

  7. List stories are joke stories.   Each list item is supposed to be a punch-line.  Or something.  This is difficult to pull off.

  8. Try-fail cycle?

  9. Another joke here.

  10. List stories seem to be inspired by the self-help section of the bookstore or those spammy click-bait websites.  It's like "Dick and Jane" meets "ridiculous ways to get outrageously rich quick."   Run, dear reader, run.

  11. List stories sometimes turn into an instruction set written as if the person writing the list was either  A) an information technology support person, B) trapped in a bureaucracy , C) suffered from OCD,  D) Satan, or E) someone who hates lists of instructions.

  12. List stories are in vogue now, the same way sexy vampires, lusty pirate maids, and zombies were in their heyday.   This means that list stories get published instead of the stories I write.

  13. Not all list stories.


*by "hate" I mean the way authors are bemused and annoyed by stories like "Twilight," "The Da Vinci Code,"  and "Fifty Shades of Grey."

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