Monday, January 23, 2012

THE WOODPILE -- Negative #6 by Anthony David Jacques

This is a hybrid type of piece from Anthony David Jacques (see bio). It was featured in issue 1.

Why we liked this piece -- It takes advantage of the space well, creating an extra dimension to the story. The story is strong enough to function on its own, which is very important to us. Doing something like this always runs the risk of crossing into gimmick territory. We were impressed that Anthony tried this, and of course, extremely pleased that it actually worked.

Here's some insight from the Author --

This story went through a few iterations before the final version solidified. This was iteration number 6, hence the title. 

I love writing with constraints--not that it always pays off, mind you--but constraints give me a challenge whereas simply sitting down to write (to just ... write?) can seem daunting. Even if I have a plot idea, my mind is immediately flooded with questions of length, perspective, style, literary devices, etc... I tend to do a lot of flash fiction to give myself at least one constraint, word count, since I tend to have a real problem with getting longwinded. 

At first my approach was, "What am I going to do with 1200 characters?" But that was the wrong question. I had a canvas to work with, so that must be part of the equation. I decided to treat it like a canvas, and while I was at it, why not make the canvas device work on more than one level? 

If I'm honest, this story is a (very) subtle nod to MZ Danielewski's House of Leaves. (Very subtle). Admittedly, my story is nowhere near the genius-level of anything he's ever done, and I'm sure MZD could blow all of our minds with a 4x6" story should he put his mind to it. But the way he plays with text and formatting is brilliant, and it's something I always find myself wanting to do, but this is the first time I ever ran with it. I'm pleased with how it turned out. 

-- Anthony David Jacques

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