Seven Second FictionPosted: July 27, 2014
I’ve used a word cloud generator while revising a story, usually to make sure that certain problem words are under control (I’m looking at you, “felt” “looked” “was” …) It’s great tool, but then I realized that I could use it to actually make a story-poem (sort of.)
I used a short story I’d written recently for my critique group (we’ve been critiquing each other’s novels, but I think we were all feeling a little “first chapter fatigue” so I ventured into the land of shorter fiction.) I uploaded the full text of the story to Tag Crowd http://tagcrowd.com/ and then eliminated a few words that were inappropriate for my family friendly blog.
The story is called MUSE, and of course the characters names are evident immediately (Eli, Taylor, Wall, Morris.) The rest of the story is told only through the most used words, requiring a degree of reader participation unprecedented in fiction. A sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.
One thing that’s cool about the word cloud version of the story is the way the human brain sees text in this form–not in a (roughly) linear fashion, as when the words are arranged in the normal way, but as an instant jolt of lexical caffeine.
Okay, I’ll humbly admit that the short story is much better than the word cloud version. But what if you’re in a hurry? It’s the perfect seven-second form of fiction.