In my continuing series where I describe the inspiration behind my stories, I have one that’s hot off the presses. (It felt old to type that. Do kids these days even know what a printing press is?)
My story “Agenda” appears in Planetside: Science Fiction Drabbles, which was released yesterday! As the anthology’s name suggests, mine (and all of the other stories in the anthology) are 100 words–no more, no less.
It’s hard writing exactly 100 words. There’s a lot of counting for starters. For this particular story, I took a work that was 160 words and cut it down to 100. I think that was even harder than setting out to write only 100 words from the start–killing your darlings an all.
This story has a very unique, and I dare say experimental, format. The title gives it away, but the story is in the form of a meeting agenda. I wrote this a couple of years ago when I was president of two volunteer organizations, both of which required me to prepare agendas for the organization’s monthly meetings. At some point in doing this every month, I had the idea of trying to tell a story solely through a meeting agenda. I’d seen other authors tell stories through lists or even recipes but never an agenda. I thought using an agenda format was creative at the time and still do.
I plan to include the 160 word version of this story in my forthcoming short story collection of related tales. (I say “forthcoming,” but I haven’t made much progress on putting it together.) This summer I realized over the last several years that I’d written at least three stories where aliens invade Earth, and it didn’t go well for us humans. I decided those stories should all be in the same universe, so I plan to harmonize several details, such as the name of the race of alien invaders. These I’ll include in my short story collection, along with several other groups of related short stories, i.e. each story in a group is related to the other stories in that group but not related to stories in other groups.
And that’s “Agenda.” Have you ever tried an experimental format in your writing? Did it work or not? Let me know in the comments.