A lot of people have had quite a lot of fun with the random pairing generator
and the plot bunny generator
. Both are quite fun, and have decidedly evil streaks. (The plot bunny generator just gave me "Bruce Wayne / ...prepares a meal" -- something that, if you're at all in Batfandom, you know is an extraordinarily bad idea
.) Many stories have resulted, most of them being ficlets. (In part because of the five-minute game
, which was an invention I can only describe as crackheaded and evil. Also fun.)
I suck at the five-minute game, and have been trying to figure out why. I come up with story ideas for a given pairing pretty quickly, but can't hold to the time limit at all. I can do stupid-funny pretty easily, but have only been able to produce one five-minute ficlet that's any good
I think it's because of what and how I write. I'm a story freak. I love characterization, and banter, and I'm a sucker for good romance, but for me writing is all about *people doing something.* Making decisions, solving mysteries, facing challenges -- whatever. But I'm very much a beginning-middle-end-in-an-Aristotle's-P
oetics-kind-of-way guy. And I can't do that in five minutes. Or at least, I haven't been able to yet.
It's not that I don't like ficlets. They're fun. But they're not really stories. They're more like the kind of thing one SF writer (Ray Bradbury, I think) called, "Here's an interesting idea; the end." My Two-Face story definitely falls into that category: it's a portrait, not a story. And I keep trying to write stories with a beginning, middle, and end. So I keep busting the time limit and writing longer ficlets, to the point that they're not really ficlets at all. I think my Lucius/Lois
still falls into the "portrait" category, but my Jason Todd/Maggie Sawyer
and my Scarecrow/Harley
don't. And I prefer the story to the portrait. My reaction to a lot of ficlets is to say, "Neat -- so now what?" The best example is marag
's "Fathers and Children
" -- I'm annoyed that it ended, because I want to know what happens next. (She has another example of the contrast I'm talking about here
: the first is a portrait, the second a story.)
So: ficlets are fun, but ultimately a distraction from storytelling. Which is where my interest lies.