Why Stick Figure Stories?

Welcome to the work-in-progress (WiP) section, where books have working titles, and where I spend far too long planning, outlining, and disappearing down research rabbitholes. Also, reading. It’s important for writers to read, as you know. It’s quite important for writers to get around to doing some actual writing, too.

Speaking of writing, you might wonder why a prose writer’s website is called “Stick Figure Stories”. The short answer is “Why not?”, but for those interested in the long answer, read on:

The stick figure is one of the most relatable characters in art. Most humans can look at a stick figure and see ourselves, no matter what the story. As Scott McCloud put it in chapter two of Understanding Comics:

When two people interract, they usually look directly at one another, seeing their partner’s features in vivid detail. Each one also sustains a constant awareness of his or her own face, but this mind-picture is not nearly so vivid; just a sketchy arrangement… a sense of general placement.

Thus, when you look at a photo or realistic drawing of a face, you see it as the face of another. But when you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself.

Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, p.35-6

When coming up with my own stories, or reading someone else’s, I almost never see the characters in my head. I imagine their body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions from within, knowing how they feel, but not necessarily how they look. So when I was challenged to describe my writing style in no more than five words, I went with “stick figure speculative fiction”. This description fit so well, that I decided to use it as the name of this site.

NB: You could make the case that all fiction is speculative by definition, but “SpecFic” has been adopted as a catch-all term for fantasy, science fiction, alternate history, and anything else that isn’t set in our reality. More on this another time

Also, I’m absolutely and 100% not an artist, so stick figures are about the limit of what I can draw. 

An example of my "art". A simple stick figure with its arms in the air, is saying "Yay, Art!". A smaller, plainer figure replies, "No" A third, smiling stick figure has the words "So visual!" around its head. The word "NO" beside it has eyes and a mouth inside the 'O'.

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