Blair Hurley reports:
"[Surrealism is] a technique or a genre, whatever you want to call it, that makes things seem just a bit off. The world is slightly skewed...and it highlights what’s really at stake in the story...[T]ry using it in your own writing as a way to make things stranger, more dreamlike, and ultimately more unique and memorable...If your story is too strange, the reader will begin to feel uprooted, disconnected from the characters and the problems of the story. If it’s a story where people can fly and monsters are just illusions, then where’s the danger? Why doesn’t your character just fly away from harm, for example? The most chilling or ominous surreal stories are where everything seems normal — until it gradually becomes clear that something is wrong, something is inescapable out of your character’s control...The surreal has things in common with dreams, but it’s a lot more compelling. As Henry James said, 'Tell a dream, lose a reader.' People love to talk about their dreams, but nothing’s more boring than hearing about someone else’s. What makes a surreal story work, however, is that it has the potential to be anyone’s dream, not just the reflection of one person’s memory and neuroses. Don’t write a story that has your character wandering down a misty hallway and finding her own face looking at her from all the windows. Don’t have Aunt Gertrude chasing your main character through a haunted house. Don’t choose the seemingly random, impossible details that seem possible in a dream...Dreams don’t work well in stories because of this randomness, but also because they’re inherently self-absorbed, fully introverted, concerned only with one person’s psyche and how it has gotten scrambled in sleep."
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