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Introducing Ray Bradbury.

So I've started reading some Ray Bradbury. I've read all of four stories from this collection of his short stories, but I'm already about as impressed as one can reasonably be. These are just some initial impressions, mind you.

with cat
I've started with some of his short stories because that's what I'm interested in writing. I want to learn to write short stories, so that's what I'm reading. And, yes, this is my first Bradbury. No, I have not read Fahrenheit 451. Somehow. Eventually, though. Over on my other blog, I reflected on some advice he gave about storywriting.

But on to my impressions.

I like how he conveys his characters, how minimally. Unlike my beloved Alice Munro--who outlines her characters in innumerable gentle, only just discernible strokes yet leaves one fully possessed of each character's nature and history, or all one needs of it--Bradbury makes a few large strokes, creates a bold outline, but gives hardly anything else. And yet his characters still feel alive (I think). Like Munro, he provides his readers with just enough to give the story life--a balancing trick that at least theoretically baffles my novice hand.

But the kind of information they each give offer their readers and the means of conveyance differ. How, though? Hm, I've too little data to know yet. Both bring their characters and their stories to life in what strikes me as such obviously different ways, but I've read too little of Bradbury to make any definitive comparisons or claims.

My guess so far: He makes his characters' motivations clearer than Munro does. As in, his protagonists' goals may be more explicit or easily inferred. That's not a bad thing; in theory that gives his stories obvious drive, energy; his characters are more immediately accessible. If so, then perhaps Munro needs that more "fleshed out" approach, if we can call it that, to help imply her characters' motivations; readers have to infer--among other things--her characters' motivations, so they need more material, more premises, from which to make their inferences. Where the materials Bradbury provides are bold but sparse, Munro's are secretive though plentiful.

Well, that's a neat hypothesis. Good explanatory power, even almost It could of course be coincidence or explainable some other way. Thankfully, I have another 96 stories from Bradbury to read, enjoy, and study.


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