Hiya All! Hope the first couple of days of #10Stories30 is treating you kindly. As promised, here is the first of this month’s blogs –
Shortening Your Creative Genius
‘I’m sorry,’ you say, ‘Did I hear you correctly? You really want me to write a short story?’ *SHIVERS* ‘You are CRAZY! I can’t write short. I can’t! I’ve tried before, but my shorts turn into longs and…’
Oh boy! Do I know what you’re talking about. I’ve bee there too. But then, I learned a secret while forcing myself to write children’s picture books. Yep! It’s not so hard to fix either. The even better news – I’m going to share it with you. — You’re welcome in advance.
Here’s the deal-io –
I was using descriptive phrasing (yes, it makes long works, like novels sparkle nicely) when a single word would do.
An example (yanked just know from my head) –
The glass in the window pane glinted rosy hues from the sunset behind the mountain.
– It’s a beautiful, albeit a bit wordy and descriptive sentence.
And lot’s of it, just plain isn’t needed.
The window glinted pink in the sunset.
– 15 words down to 7 words.
The sentence is now short, concise and tight and you’ve lost nothing of the meaning.
So, follow me down this handy dandy flowy chart-like thing of examples –
When you are writing think.
– The man’s red t-shirt…
– The girl’s blonde pigtails…
– The old woman passed the blue blanket…
– The old man lay under a ratty and stained blanket…
Think about this – does the color really matter to the plot? If not – delete it. Does it really matter that the blanket is ratty and stained? No? Scratch it out. You won’t ruin your writing.
– The man’s t-shirt stuck in the mailbox.
– The girl’s pigtails flapped in the breeze.
– The old woman passed the blanket to me.
– The old man lay under a blanket to ward off the chills.
Do not be afraid to scratch things out. The idea isn’t to write a perfect draft the first time around. Gosh no! You can always go back and add more words later if you want to lengthen the story. That’s the whole point of revision – perfecting a terrible first draft. And remember, likewise, you can delete at later drafts too.
So what is a short story?
– Sometimes it’s one good long scene.
– Sometimes it’s three scenes.
– Sometimes it’s more.
– Sometimes it’s less.
Really, it’s whatever you want it to be. But, it MUST have three parts and a few ingredients like any fine recipe.
– It must have three acts: Act I – Rising, Act II – Climax, & Act III – Falling
– It must have engaging characters. Don’t leave you characters cardboard cutouts, make them as 3D as you can.
– It must create some kind of feeling in readers. Horror, Shock, Terror, Happiness, Sadness, Any kind of feeling – it’s your job as a writer to make them FEEL something, anything.
In a nutshell,
Essentially, a short story is the very same thing as a novel or a screenplay or any longer piece of written creative genius – it’s just shorter, much shorter.
Now, it’s time for me to get back to my first short story of #10Stories30, Coleta and her band of pirates have a ship to plunder and pillage. And it’s time for you to get back to your first story, or second, fifth or whatever story you are on. 😉
Happy writing and thanks for reading!