A to Z Day 25: Yarn

I can’t do any better for a definition of Yarn than Dr. L. Kip Wheeler of Carson-Newman University:

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YARN (Old English gearn): An informal name for a long, rambling story–especially one dealing with adventure or tall-tales. The genre typically involves a strong narrative presence and colloquial or idiomatic English. The tone is realistic, but the content is typically fantastic or hyperbolic. Cf. the Chinese p’ing hua and the Russian skaz.

When I think of yarns, I think of Mark Twain stories, Davy Crockett, and Paul Bunyan. I loved a good yarn as a child — that’s probably one of the sources of my love of stories and storytelling. Here’s what makes a good yarn. It’s a story you tell in conversational language, and you tell it as though it’s true. But at the same time, the actual events you’re narrating are so fantastical that no one could possibly believe them. The effect is usually humor.

Some people limit yarns to campfire stories and shaggy dog stories. Include folk tales in them, so long as they’re long-winded, exaggerated, and use colloquial language. In other words, I don’t think a story necessarily has to be pointless or anti-climactic to qualify as a yarn.

Feel free to drop the titles or links to your favorite yarns, or yarns you’ve written, in the comments in this next-to-last day of the A to Z Challenge.

A to Z badge by Jeremy of Being Retro.

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6 thoughts on “A to Z Day 25: Yarn

    • Oh. That is a good one. And yes. Totally a yarn.

      Comment management on wordpress makes me unhappy. Thinking about turning on moderation for all comments at this point just so I won’t miss any. Just saw this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The A to Z Challenge has driven me to use the “View Archives” option for the WordPress Notifications. To look through all of the comments on my posts… some for the most recent ones (between two blogs!) and some for the older posts!

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        • Thanks for the tip. I’ve been scrolling through pages and pages of comments, but that’s really cumbersome. I’m a little surprised at how many pages of comments I have, even here, because it doesn’t feel like I get that many comments on a day-to-day basis.

          Like

  1. Pingback: Things I know now that I didn’t know on April 1: An A to Z Reflection | The Writing Catalog

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