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Liesl Jobson

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Nanofiction inspired by Lauren Beukes

Shya ScanlonI’m not entirely convinced that this story constitutes high art and I’m also not sure it isn’t procrastination disguised as woolgathering, but that is a separate issue, one I’m attending to in my new years’ resolution.

Nevertheless, this 50-worder – which is technically not nanofiction if you’re from the school that stipulates that nanofiction is exactly 55 words – feels like it could be the start of a longer story. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s what counts. Prompts, games, contests, whatever it takes to get and keep me writing, these are what interest me.

When The Broad Set Writing Collective announced a nanofiction contest with an opportunity to win Shya Scanlon‘s Forecast, which has stylistic elements in common with Lauren Beukes’ Moxyland and Zoo City, I couldn’t resist.

Inspired by her recent post, ASSASIN I HAVE BEEN PAYED TO TERMINATE YOU, which opened the door to a whole other way of being in the world, I wrote this:

On the Day Our Father the Scambaiter Discovers LAN Isolation Is Not the Sole Cause of Grief

When he opens the server’s back-end, randomly jabbing ping tests, object variables and disabled traffic, back away sharpish. Offer no reflection, no suggestion. Resist eye contact. Resist looking at the parrot. Scan the room, removing hammers, screwdrivers and pliers. Hum the Nigerian national anthem. Pray for locusts, owls and snakes. to that which keeps one going as a writer, I discovered the Write 1 Sub 1 initiative, which is a year-long writing experiment in Ray Bradbury’s shadow. I have to confess to never having read any Ray Bradbury, but that’s a minor detail that shouldn’t skew the process. The notion of daily diligence and regular writing practice appeals.

Having a monthly goal might just be the Open Sesame! to getting a novel completed. After all, if I can write a nanofiction every day, bundle it together with like-minded companions into a short story, once a month. Stitch these to related friends, perhaps into an inter-related collection, this could be one way of growing the novel.

Read the full post here


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    December 28th, 2010 @22:36 #

    Liesl, you've become a Lorelei (literally, looking at yr pic). This is a delicious snatch of siren song, and a portal to yet another galaxy in cyberspace...

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    December 28th, 2010 @23:17 #

    A Lorelei now, Helen? Last time you called me something it was Rapunzel. It's all good. Alternative personae. Different universes.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    January 1st, 2011 @11:32 #

    This is wonderful, Liesl.


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