Slice of Life, or SOL is one of a few unconventional writing styles that’s piqued my interest of late. Why is it unconventional? It forgoes a lot of the elements found in the traditional stories, yet has merit and history. From Wikipedia: The literary term refers to a storytelling technique that presents a seemingly arbitrary sample of a character’s life, which often lacks a coherent plot, conflict, or ending. The story may have little plot progress and little character development, and often has no exposition, conflict, or dénouement, with an open ending.
I never thought about how several of my short stories fit the style until I got some feedback about my writings. The consensus was that some stories didn’t have conflict, stakes, and the endings were open. By chance I saw this article by Richard Thomas on LitReactor. This was a revelation. Some of the stories I tried hard to change in the revision stage. I wanted to give them traditional story qualities so that they appealed to others, but I lost faith in their quality.
That’s not to say I always dwell in unconventional styles. I have a pieces of writing in the mold of convention, but my more off the beaten path stories are ones I’m drawn to write. What I’m getting at is that there’s a chunk of me that wondered why I kept getting my stories “wrong,” and at the same time when I tried to correct them, they felt wrong. It’s not the case for every story, I don’t mind making adjustments in story elements (mainly scripts and screenplays).
So what does this mean? I need to let people know beforehand the story style I employ before handing it off. Why? Well if you’re critiquing the material and you’re looking for traditional elements, you won’t find them. Likewise the reader may perceive the material as wrong because they’re looking for the conventions of fiction. It also means I need to pull several of the stories I shelved and readdress them soon. There are always elements in need of revision. Grammar, tenses, elements. I have a lot to do.
Happy creative endeavors.