1. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    Just Finished My First Short Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by That Secret Ninja, Apr 18, 2010.

    Well, I just finished my first short story. I have read through it several times and with each successive read, I like it more and more. Because as I reread it, I add in subtle details, subtract unneeded words or phrases, and overall, correct the pacing and phrasing of the narrative

    So what do I do now?

    Do I put it aside and wait a few days, and read & draft it again with a fresh eye?

    Also my word count amounted to about 2500 words. Is that a sufficient length for a short story?
     
  2. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    The next thing to do is probably have someone else read it and give you feedback. Other people often have a way of finding things that you might have missed, particularly if you're new to writing short stories.

    It's easy to ask friends and family to look over your work, but that might not be helpful unless you're confident that they can be objective in their criticisms. Aside from that, a writing group or even writing partner would be a great place to go next.

    If you plan on seeking publication, just make sure you don't post your work online. Still, if this is your first short story it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to throw it to the wolves and just take this one as a learning experience, but that's entirely up to you.

    EDIT: To answer your last question, your word count is fine for a short story. Anything from 1000 to 10,000 words or so technically qualifies as such, but the longer stories are harder to market. 2500 is a good length.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes and yes...

    and while it can be helpful to get knowledgeable feedback, i always caution new writers to never show their work to friends, or anyone they're related to or sleeping with, since either they can't be neutral enough to be objective, so can put the relationship at risk, or won't know good writing from bad, thus providing fals hope/discouragement...
     
  4. nettkkr
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    nettkkr Member

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    I disagree with you mamma, sometimes the one you sleep with or your best friends can be your harshest critics.

    As far as false hope or discouragement...we get enough of that on sites that we subscribe to. True it is very difficult to make it as a writer in today's market. But on the other hand it's not unheard of. All we hear from a person such as yourself is the negativity of being a writer. Whenever someone even gives a hint of hope, I've seen you slap their face with words of discouragement. Sometimes it's the people we don't know that give us the biggest discouragement of all. Every writer needs to know that yes, it's tough and a long hard road, but it is not impossible.

    If a little criticism would cause a relationship to fall apart over something as simple as a short story or a first time novel, the relationship was meant to fall apart. So while the statement may have good intentions, i truly believe it is false to the matter of neutrality and providing hope.
     
  5. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    You don't think people become discouraged from harsh critcism?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Harsh criticism is often easier to take from strangers. When there is a close personal relationship as well, it can impinge upon the critic-writer relationship, and vice versa.

    Hearing it from a stranger makes it easier to believe that the criticism is not personal.

    Even so, some people will take it personally no matter who or where it comes from.
     
  7. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    To get this thread back on topic:

    Print it out if possible, then read it out loud and have a red ink pen handy. Do not mummble or whisper. Read to the dog if that helps.

    Put it aside for a week or so, then re-read it.

    At some point, you'll have to let someone else read it. There's no other way to know if it was "succcessful" or not.

    I do suggest posting here since it's your first piece, not as likely it'll be published. And you'll be subjected to all forms of opinions and advice, which the one of most crucial steps in learning.

    //R
     
  8. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    First of all, congratulations on finishing your short story!! It takes a lot of effort and willpower to bring stories to a succesfull end and still have the energy to re-read it, re-write parts. So, yeah, definatly, congrats on your first short story!

    Letting people around you read it is good for a confidance boost, even if you say they should be objective they can never be objective because they already know you, so posting it in this forum would be a great way to learn, also, because there are fellow-writers here, we might have more eye for detail or technical writing issues. It's pretty scary to throw yourself to the wolves, but maybe it wil help to make your work even better, and you're able to crystallise it to perfection even further!

    Good luck! And happy writing!
     
  9. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I agree. I just think of my family. One person in general. If he were to review my work I'd imagine he'd be especially harsh. Not because he wants my work to improve, but because he's more concerned with me not getting a big ego.

    Strangers are the way to go.
     
  10. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    I just returned to my first short story, after three days of reading H.P. Lovecraft short stories. (which are fantastic, btw)

    I just spent about four hours completely re-drafting the entire story and gotta say, this re-draft is miles better than what was there before.

    But what happened with this intensive re-draft, was that my word count ballooned from about 2500 words to about 5700 words. :eek:

    I focused in more on showing and not just telling what was happening at each point of the story. I went into much more depth at what the characters both thought and felt.

    I feel that with another brief re-draft, the story will be ready to be critiqued by others. Who that will be, is still to be decided on. I'm looking toward my boss for an opinion, as we are on good terms and she won't hesitate to constructively critique my work, as usual. ;)

    thanks for all the help!
     
  11. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    Haha, this always happens to me too! But it's nice :D
     
  12. Gingerbiscuit
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    Gingerbiscuit Senior Member

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    In my opinion it's perhaps a good idea to get a loved one to read it first. That way you don't run the risk of becoming completely demoralised. I find that my loved ones don't have a lot of technical knowledge so they can't provide an in-depth critique but what they can do is read it as a reader and you can judge how well the story works based on their reaction. If they laugh, you know it's at least funny.

    If you're totally new to the game though you will certainly need a technical critique at some point and the review room here is as good a place as any to get that.
     
  13. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    Don't get bogged down in your word count. If the story is what you want to tell and you are happy with the elements of it then you're good to go. Show it to someone :)
     

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