Most writers follow the set conventions and style of writing set by the former writers, but some break through such set conventions in order to bring innovation. The innovative short story is sometimes termed as avant-garde, experimental, or unconventional fiction. In this article, you will learn about this “innovative” aspect of story and its development.
Innovative stories, unlike mainstream short fiction, do not rely upon conventional character, plots, conflicts, or other elements. They are somewhat anti-story normally lacking realism, a focused subject, and plot. Rather such stories explore events through randomness, chaos, fragments, and arbitrariness. One of the main aspects of such innovative stories is that they are often unpredictable and that is why such stories generate the effects of wonder and awe.
You can consider the modern short story as an innovation in fiction. Since the 19th century, some writers have extended the boundary line of the form. Gogol merged dream and reality in his The Overcoat (1842) which is a tale about an unimportant clerk who dies of heartbreak after his new overcoat is stolen but later on returns as a ghost to find justice. In other words, the writers of today take liberty in experimenting with the form.
The stories of Franz Kafka beautifully mesh the fantastic with the realistic. And as a result, the adjective “Kafkaesque” is created to describe his stories. In the Penal Colony (1919) is one of the finest of Kafka’s innovative stories dealing with imprisonment and torment. This sort of fusion is often innovative in nature that succeeds in entertaining the readers.
Virginia Woolf makes use of the omniscient point of view in the Kew Gardens (1919). In this story, plants, insects, wind, noise, and light play as important part as human beings.
After World War II, unconventional short fiction became more popular and common. American writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in his Welcome to the Monkey House (1968) included a range of stories that make satirical use of the science fiction genre. Harrison Bergeron is such story that starts with, “The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal.”
Tommaso Landolfi, an Italian author, uses the biographical form in Gogol’s Wife (1954) for satirizing men’s misuse of women. French writer Anais Nin’s dream story Ragtime (1944) is about Surrealism, which tries to represent the subconscious.
The more you read and study the modern short stories, the more you’ll find that how innovation has taken place with the course of the time.