Breaking Their Hip : By Karen Russell

1162 Words5 Pages
Breaking Their Hip: Using Structure to Help Tension in Your Story.
Tension, like in life, makes a character 's experience unbearable, interesting, and complex. It raises the emotional stakes and makes your reader invest in the text. Being able to create tension in short stories is an art within itself; because we have limited time and space, it 's important to use your tools artfully to bring the most out of your short story.
The Titanic Effect:
Swamplandia! By Karen Russell (a novel, that came out of a short story)
Context: Thirteen year old Ava Bigtree has grown up on her family-owned gator-wrestling amusement park, Swamplandia!, her entire life. Her mother, Hiola, is the star of the attractions: Diver and gator wrestler. When Hiola dies, Ava 's family begins to unravel and the threat of losing their home becomes real.
Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End.
“The beginning of the End can feel a lot like the middle when you are living in it. When I was a kid I couldn 't see any of these ridges. It was only after Swamplandia! 's fall that time folding into a story with a beginning, middle, and an ending. If you 're short on time, that would be the two-word version of our story: we fell.”
Explanation: Russell strategically titles the first chapter and places this sentence within the first chapter. By setting up that the characters ' fall, Russell sets the stage to develop a moody and tense atmosphere where the reader wants to look away, but can 't.
Now twist that shit!
Krakatau

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