Writing Tip #10 – How to Write a Short Story

In October, I uploaded a blog about the benefits of writing short stories. This week, I wanted to share with you guys how I write short stories. Though I think most writers create short stories relatively the same way, I figured I could throw in my two cents on how I make them.

Let’s get started!

 

TO BEGIN, I open the story either shortly before or after the action. On rare occasion, I like to start in the middle of the action, usually before the end of everything. I know there are some writers who say never to do one of the three, but I disagree. Think about it, a short story needs to be short. Hence the name short story. Therefore, it would be best to open the story as close to the climax as possible. This doesn’t always mean that you should begin the story with your character staring down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun, unless it is necessary and makes sense.

FOR SCENE SKIPPING, I use a decorative line and keep writing. This, however, is limited to when I am writing a short story that is a little on the long side. For short stories, I like to keep things moving so that there is no need for time skips or breaks between scenes. Personally, if I can’t keep the story moving smoothly then I need to find a way that I can.

FOR POINT OF VIEW SWITCHING, I use a decorative line and I also jump forward in time if I find it suitable. For one short story, I used a point of view switch to carry the story onward and to give it more feeling as the story is finished off by another character. This is a great way to use scene skipping to move the story on smoothly.

WHEN ENDING THE STORY, I never really close my story. I leave it off on a note that allows me to pick up the story again if I decide to, thus allowing the reader’s mind to wander long after they finish the story. If the story requires an end, however, I tend to either kill off one of the main characters or end the scene on a note of finality (Or, at least, I hope I do). What I mean by that is I put an end to whatever matter I am writing about.

For instance, in one short story, I put an end to a matter but having character one prove that they truly love character two. Character two heads back into the forest to go home and character one follows behind them, In the mind of character one, I use the phrase ‘I love you and only you’ before ending the story. I put an end to matter at hand. The issue being: Does character one love character two? If so, how much?

 

That’s all I have for today’s blog post! I hope this was enjoyable and informative. ‘Til next time, keep writing!

Quick Tip #11 – The Element of Surprise

Happy Sunday guys!

Today’s quick tip is about the element of surprise. This isn’t about how to pull of a good trick or a good scare on your sibling. However, this can be used to surprise your readers with secrets that will surely shock them to bits.

Let’s get started!

 

  1. Remember What Each Character Knows

One thing that ruins a good surprise is when too many people know. In reality, when we have a secret, we tell only a few people. For the next few days, weeks, months, or years we carry around this secret that most people don’t know about.

This is the same for our characters. Either they keep a secret to themselves or share it with a close friend, they have a piece of information that everyone else doesn’t have. This piece of information will change how they interact with others and how they go about life, which can make them seem strange to characters that don’t know the secret.

As a writer, it is your job to remember what the secret is, who was told or knows about the secret (even if they secretly know the secret), and whether or not the secret should be exposed. By keeping close tabs on the secret and who knows what will help you pull of a great surprise.

2. Remember Secrets Hurt

Just how you must remember the secret, you also have to forget it. When writing from the point of view of a character who doesn’t know the secret, you have to feel what they feel and see what they see.

For instance, don’t see your parents exchanging hateful glances as they are secretly getting divorced. See them looking at each other strangely, giving each other looks that you never saw them exchanging before.

You have to be as unknowing as your character and just as hurt when the secret is suddenly revealed. Try remembering when a secret was exposed to you. Use that to extract a very real reaction from your character.

 

That is all for today’s quick tip!

I know this is probably really short but this is a quick tip. Therefore, these articles should be shorter than my blog posts, which they haven’t been. I will try harder to stick to what the title says and keep these posts short and my blog articles long.

Anyway, I hope this article helped you guys! ‘Til next time, keep writing!

 

Quick Tip #10 – Benefit Of Short Stories

As of late, I have been writing short stories. This is either because I am in need of a break from my novel, I have little time and need to write, or simply because there is a story in my mind that won’t leave until I write it down.

Regardless of the reason for my many short stories, I have come to notice some benefits from constantly writing short stories.

  1. Creativity

Because I write so many short stories, I find my creativity has improved. I am now able to create plots and characters more easily than when I first start writing. This does not mean that I do not fall into ‘writer’s block’ but I do not fall into it as often as I used to.

2.  Writing is Easier

You know that feeling where you want to write but you also don’t want to write? Which usually results in you dreaming about what’s going to happen rather than writing it. By making an effort to write short stories, I can make myself write my novel, even when I would rather be dreaming about it. It’s almost as if I’ve got a little reminder that helps my brain focus on writing rather than dreaming.

3. Novel Material

Another awesome benefit for writing short stories is that you get novel material. This can be because your idea is so fantastic that you have to make it a novel or that you’ve created enough short stories to create a book of short stories. Either way, you have another book waiting to be published and that is amazing.

4. Push Your Limit

The amazing thing about short stories is that they can be as short as we want and they never have to be seen by anyone. This creates the perfect opportunity to test our writing limit. We can try a writing style that is unfamiliar to us and see how many techniques we can mess with while trying to keep the story from falling apart. Short stories allow us to try out tricks and tips we read without the risk or pressure of trying it out in our novel.

 

I’m sure there are many more reasons as to why writing short stories is beneficial, but these are the four top points that I wanted to draw to your attention. I hope this Quick Tip has helped you out in some way, shape, or form.

‘Til next time, keep writing!

 

Quick Tip #10 – What I Learned From Writing

Even though I am not a published author, I have been taking my writing seriously over the past two years. Over the course of those two years, I have realized a few things about writing.

  1. Confidence

Never would I ever believe that writing could give someone confidence. For those who write, I’m sure you can feel yourself going through a character arch with your fictional characters. As they grow and develop, you find yourself growing and developing with them. You can go from a very shy and self-conscious person to a confident and bold person. It’s amazing that you can grow and develop with the help of your own characters.

2. Healing

When you write, especially pieces that come straight from the heart, you blow off steam. Whatever hate, hurt, or unrequited love that you are harboring tend to cool down. It’s not a secret that if you were to write your heart out all the time, you would find yourself healing. By writing, you work your brain muscles. Then, over the course of a single writing piece, you could go from utter despair to calm and ready to fight. Writing and other forms of art are the best healing process, mainly because it’s free, it’s something no one can take away from you (since it will be forever in your memory), and no one can watch you do it.

3. Drive

If you even considering doing anything that requires effort, you eventually develop a drive to go after whatever it is you want to do. You will be more willing to stay up all night, to reschedule your time with friends, and fight for what you want. This I have noticed within myself. I have found it much easier to go after what I want as I’ve made writing an instrumental part of my life. This has also spread into different aspects of my life. I find that my drive to do anything has increased, therefore I have a lot more time on my hands and I can do what I love to do everyday; write.

 

It’s Sunday! This is probably the first Sunday in a while where I actually posted a Quick Tip but I’m happy I did it! I hope this was a quick, informative blog article. ‘Til next time, keep writing.

Writing Tip #9 – Creating Chapters

When first writing a story, we are often used to just writing.

And writing.

And writing.

We continue to write without really feeling the need to separate one group of scenes from another group of scenes. Once we finally realize that there is a need to separate the group of scenes, things get a bit confusing. We aren’t always sure of where we should be ending one chapter and starting a new one.

So, what can we do to help us with starting and ending chapters?

  1. What Is In a Chapter?

First order of business is to figure out what should be in a chapter.

Think of each chapter as a short story or a mini novel. There is a beginning, middle, and end or climax (if you use cliffhangers). Therefore, no chapter should be aimless. There needs to be a goal in the chapter that you wish to meet. That way, your novel will progress rather than reach a stalemate or regress.

For example; in chapter one, you introduce the main character and some hints or details about the plot. Then in chapter two, you introduce the character to a problem then use the remainder of the chapter to solve said problem. So on and so forth.

2. How Long Should a Chapter Be?

This is where things get tricky. Chapter lengths vary from one book to another and some are more eventful than others.

Personally, I do not worry about the length of my chapters. I simply plan out each chapter and once I decide that there is enough happening in each chapter, I move on.

This doesn’t work for everyone.

This is also a great reminder as to why writing your own novel is a beautiful thing. You can decide how long you want our chapters to be. Whether you want them all to be the same length or to have a length that varies, it is all up to you. You can always see how other writers separate their chapters if you wish to have a guideline to look at.

3. When Should a Chapter End?

The ending of the chapter can be decided in a few ways. It can end once you achieve the goal for that chapter or if you reach the length that you wanted the chapter to be. I do remember a fellow writer telling me that she chose the ending of a chapter when she felt there would be a considerable time-lapse before the next scene would take place. There is also the cliffhanger idea, where you leave the readers eager to read the next chapter. Again, this is decided by you, the writer.

 

That’s all I have for this blog article. I’m not going to lie, I wrote this out last night only to find that it didn’t save to all of my devices, therefore, I’m trying to write what I remember from the night before. I hope this helped the little bit of readers that I have. ‘Til next time, keep writing!

Quick Tip #9 – Someone Stealing Your Work

(This is for anyone and everyone that creates)
Lately, I have been concerned with people stealing my work and posting it as their own. At first, I thought that I was alone in this. However, after a conversation with a fellow writer, I realized that I am not alone. There are many writers and artists that feel the very same way that I do.
This, in a way, is a good and a bad thing.


This is good
in the sense that one is aware of the risks involved in putting your work out there. This means that you will do everything you can to keep people from stealing your work and gaining profit off it. After all, it would be unfortunate to have someone else make money off of your hard work. This also teaches you to protect every and any thing that is valuable to you, like your credit cards and papers with sensitive information.

This is bad
because you, as the next William Shakespare or Pablo Picaso, are depriving the world of your amazing talent. You are keeping the world from seeing just how amazing you are. Every piece of art, whether about a lost catipillar or a stubborn warrior, is important. Art work, the good and the bad, help keep our creativity alive. It is what brings out the good and amazing talents within each of us. Imagine if there was no art. Surely, as intellectual humans, we would find a way to create some form of art. But if there was no one to follow, no example for us to generate ideas from, then where would we be? I can say for sure that there wouldn’t be any story ideas, no new photographs, or drawings. We would only have the same type of art to enjoy, all the time.
What you can do to set yourself at ease is to be cautious and to do what makes you comfortable. For instance, if you want to post a picture of you writing, simply blur out the written words. If you want to post a picture then put a copyright or a watermark on your photo or put up a very rough sketch of your drawing. Personally, I do not recommend putting up any completed project unless you show people that it is copyrighted. It sounds stupid because anything ever made is copyrighted immediately after you make it, but there are those who try to steal the work of others. In addition to this, I think it would be best to post completed pieces of your work when you have a lot of people following/enjoying your work. I know it sounds crazy. However, when more people are looking at your things, then that means your work has been imprinted into the minds of a lot of people. These people can then recognize your work should someone attempt to steal it and they will most likely tell you about it. Since we can’t keep track of everyone’s work all the time, this really comes in handy.
This is a quick tip, probably the shortest one yet. Regardless, I hope it helped you guys out! I will try to be more regular in my blog posts. Hopefully, I can do so!

‘Til next time, keep writing.

Writing Tip #8 – Setting a Daily Goal

As of late, I have been extremely busy. So much so that I tend to fall asleep when I should be writing. Simply telling myself that I need to write has not been motivating enough for me to do so. Therefore, I have found another method to help me write even when I’m lazy and unwilling to write.
My cure has been setting a daily goal for myself. Whether it is a certain word count or a certain scene that I wish to have written before the day ends or even working on a short story has proven helpful to me. Here are a few reasons why it has proven to be so helpful.
Advantage 1 – You Hold Yourself Responsible
There’s nothing worse than looking back at the unfinished ‘To Do’ list at the end of the day. Seriously, it is a pain to look at. When you feel the need to have accomplished something, you are more likely to get it done. Even if your favorite movie or show is on.
This is what serves as motivation for me to get things done.
Advantage 2 – Your Pride is on the Line
I’m not a proud person. I am more likely to apologize for something that isn’t even my fault than hold a grudge because someone has offended me. However, it does feel good to know that I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. It’s sort of like an ego boost – like when someone calls your pretty or something.
Advantage 3 – You Do Your Best to Write Quickly
I’m just throwing this in there because this is what I do. When I know I have a time limit, I tend to write faster. My brain pushes forward my creativity a hundred-fold. It’s like I’ve super powers or something. I’m more focused and determined to do more for my writing.

I know I haven’t been writing actual writing tips, however, that will change. I do have one quick tip that I have been wanting to share with you guys since it is actually a feeling most people share. The next writing tip will be an actual writing tip, I promise. ‘Til next time, keep writing!