So, at one point i bought a book. It was a guide to writing short stories. The thing i liked so much about this book was that it was helpful, but not to the point of being formulaic. It left plenty of room for creativity, and took none of the hard work of the writing process out of my work. What it did do was bolster my confidence and give some very useful tips on writing short stories.
A couple things jumped out at me as far as useful tips to be passing on or writing about.
The first deals with drafting. Personally, i hate writing drafts. I never really liked the idea of changing something i've written. It doesn't feel like the same piece after i finish an edit. The mistake i was making when i thought like this was thinking that change was a bad thing.
In the context of creating drafts for any work, change is a glorious thing! I just realized how brilliant drafts can be. The book i purchased broke it down like this:
First draft: get down what you wanna say.
Second draft: get the details of how you wanna say what you wanna say ironed out.
Third Draft: Finish the final bits, polish it up, and (this was particularly difficult for me) don't be afraid to cut unneccesary flab from your story.
The second set of tips which i really enjoyed delt with how to set up the scenes in your short story. Sometimes, a scene is all your short story is. That lead into the whole "you don't actually have to have a plot for every short story you write" section. That was amazing, and i was so happy to have found it, but that's a story for another blog entry.
Anyways, with the setting up of the scenes for your story, it was broken down about like this:
Step one: Set up the scenery. (You know the stuff... trees? chairs? tables? Priceless antiques? Whatever goes in the story physically.)
Step two: Put the characters in. (what are they doing, how are they positioned, etc.)
Step three: Commencement of the scene. (What goes on. get the action out in the open.)
Step four: keep to the point. (Don't put in unneccessary crap)
Step Five: Close the scene quickly, and, if necessary, transition smoothly into the next scene.
I loved this particular breakdown. It was like pasting together a home-made pop-up book or something.
It was also mentioned that one needs to use "stage business". These are actions that people in the scene do to break up the monotony of just giving dialogue. (twirling the stem of a wine glass, lighting a cigar, digging one's fingernails into the aphostery of the furniture, etc.)
Some may find it elementary, but lately, i've been needing to get back to basics with writing. Some people focus too much on being "fancy" when they write, i think. I loved sitting down and rethinking how i write and how to go about setting up my short stories.
You need to be logged in to comment