Friday, January 16, 2015

Albertus Boli Offers a Narrative No-No?

Albertus Boli turns out to have a simple rule of thumb for determining the answer to the question, "WILL DR. BOLI READ YOUR NOVEL?"
It may surprise you to hear that Dr. Boli can tell by the first three words of the book whether he will enjoy the rest of the novel. It is a very simple test: Are the first three words a character's first and last name followed by a verb? [e.g., "Zachary Mulligan turned . . ."] If so, Dr. Boli will set the book aside unread.
Ann Othuerflop responded:
"Waking up in his grave, Zachary Mulligan turned out not to be dead." – would you read a novel that began like this?
I (Jeffery Hodges) found that an interesting question and so posted a variant:
Waking up in his grave, Zachary Mulligan turned out not to be dead. Not yet, anyway.
Albertus Boli observed:
This appears to be the end as well as the beginning of a very, very short story.
I (Jeffery Hodges) agree that this is true - and was intended as such - though a bad writer could easily drag the story out to great lengths. But for stark brevity, Dr. Boli should read my blog post on "Shortest Short Stories"
Here's my entry for the shortest fairy tale ever:
Once upon a time, they all lived happily ever after.
Surely, this is the shortest of fairy tales still recognizably a complete fairy tale.
Albertus Boli might, however, ache for some longer tale, and for that ache, he needs my tonic water, The Bottomless Bottle of Beer . . .

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