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This request came in via email and I thought I would pass it along in case anyone was interested. Here it is :

Dear all,

I am new on the list and hope my very first query meets your interests.

I'm in the course of compiling as many short short stories as possible for later use as test stimuli in a cognitive experiment about plot recognition. For this, I'd be obliged to receive from you links to or full-texts of very simple English stories. These should match as many of the following criteria as possible:

1. The stories are roughly between 200 and 1200 words long.

2. They are action-oriented, involve only a few (or ideally two) protagonists, and describe simple interactions (and thus have no strong focus on subliteral or symbolic meaning).

3. The plot-defining interaction (such as antagonism or quest) is ideally not realized as a physical movement by someone, but mentally or in other indirect ways.

4. The stories avoid excessive ellipsis and tell what happens overtly.

5. The stories lend themselves to changing the outcome in interesting ways by adding or deleting a couple of sentences.

An additional useful (and ultimately the key) criterion would be that the plot or story gist reminds you, metaphorically if you like, of abstract shapes like convergence, distancing, cycle, balance, to-and-fro, conduit, blockage, blockage removal, immobilizing, direct forward movement, vying forces, joining forces, expansion-contraction, increase, particular time contours, up-down, etc. (The experiments will contain a matching task with abstract visual shapes like these to test if sktechy mental imagery plays a role for understanding the "event shape" of simple plots.) If you're not sure if that is the case send me your stories anyway...

If you find more detail information useful, please feel free to drop me a line.
I'd also appreciate being pointed to other lists or full-text archives that might be pertinent to my query.

many thanks,
Michael Kimmel

Chrispian H. Burks
Lit.Org Owner / Founder
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The following comments are for "Wanted - Short Stories between 200 and 1200 words"
by Chrispian

What a horribly cold and sterile (and nearly incomprehensible) way to request a short story. I know it's an experiment, but a set of parameters like that should send most writers running for the hills. I wonder if he knows that...

( Posted by: Beckett Grey [Member] On: March 27, 2004 )

hear hear Beckett
not ruddy half, my first scan of the request made me think, 'blimey he's not asking for much, like hell!' He wants, action-oriented, no strong focus on symbolism, little physical movement, reminding one, metaphorically, of abstract shapes and tells the story as overtly as possible.
Oh yeah, Chris, thanks for the help, but in the end I adjusted my cookie blocker and everything's back to normal, tried the 'forgot password' thing but nothing seemed to happen.
Paul the Ogg

( Posted by: ogg [Member] On: March 27, 2004 )

i have a story that if i understand the perameters right, may just fit. What i want to know is: What's in it for me? is he gonna pay us? do we get our names on the project? what? also, what is he going to do with our stories when he's done? i don't just blithely send away my works of art on a whim. i need to know that they won't be stolen...

( Posted by: nimue_the_mighty [Member] On: March 29, 2004 )

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