Monday, May 14, 2007

How To Write A Short Story

If you are considering writing then this blog entry is for you. Learning how to write a short story is just as difficult as learning how to ice skate…once you fall down a couple of times you lean how to fall and why you fell. And after having a sore bottom time after time you become a better skater.

Well first things first. There are thousands of literary websites that promote that they are the definite authority on writing. The problem, I found, with these “how to” writing websites is that they are overly technical. And for the inexperienced writer this can be confusing. For all practical purposes there are two things you should have before you even consider putting nimble fingers to keyboard. One is creativity and the second is persistence. Without either one you are going to suck as a writer.

Before you start on a journey into the world of imagination you should brush up on your vocabulary and learn the basic literary terms. Having a strong vocabulary is essential when writing but it really isn’t necessary, WAIT, before you go berserk and banish me to all things baroque. Not everyone is enhanced with an Oxford English Dictionary Unabridged shoved up their bum. You will learn new words when you mature as a writer. And what makes a great writer…an excellent reader of course!

Now when starting a short story I found that writing without stopping works wonders. Don’t worry about missing a comma splice or busting verbs. Just write as fast as you can until your writers voice demands a sip of water. Complete your story before you return to the first sentence to begin the editing process. Once you start over you can hone in on the build of your story. A short story must have a plot. A short story must move the reader along. A short story has a beginning, middle and ending. Breathe life into your main character(s) by doing a character profile on a separate piece of paper. This will make your main character(s) three dimensional and believable. Next place your story in a category (i.e. horror, romance, sci-fi, drama) and remember that it is hard to sell a story that has multiple genres.

Once you have finished your character profile, found out what genre your story will be, then it will be time to edit. Believe me the story you initially wrote won’t look anything like your completed story. When you are satisfied place your story in a box under the bed or hide it for a couple of weeks. This way when you return to it(hopefully with your muse in tow) you will have a fresh set of eyes. Yes that actually works. And with any luck over time you will become published, pretentious and have your face plastered all over bookstores sprinkled through out America.


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