Thursday, November 15, 2012
I write a lot of short stories. Some of them work, some don't.
Some time ago I started a short story about an injured man who was led to safety by a pig. (It was set in Texas, of course.)
But it wasn't working. Too much of the story was just a lost man with an injured ankle hobbling along after a pig in a storm. That part of the story wasn't really interesting.
So I put the story away and forgot about it.
The other day, I was listening to a radio interview with neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. He was plugging his new book, titled Hallucinations.
Sacks noted how people in extreme peril sometimes hear a voice giving them advice. Sacks himself once experienced this.
And it hit me: THAT was how I could make the long trudge interesting! The PIG would TALK!
(Or, more precisely, the injured narrator would assume the voice came from the pig. I love what writers call "unreliable narrators.")
So I brought up the story, and made the pig talk, telling the injured man to keep moving. Since the narrator is a good ol' boy from Texas, he imagines the pig talking like an educated Yankee. (He says, "the damn pig sounded like Thurston Howell III from 'Gilligan's Island.'")
As far as I can tell, it works. I'll find out once I bring it to one of my critique groups. Thanks, Oliver Sacks!