Category Archives: Short Stories

6 Ways to get your story written

You may know I run two writers’ clubs at the local library. One weekly one for adults and one monthly one for children. I had a great session with the kids again yesterday. They’re all girls, and some are born writers. I can’t believe how they absorb what I teach them like a sponge, and how prolific and creative their minds are.

The adults seem to have more problems putting pen to paper. Yes, they have more chores and responsibilities that take up their time. I don’t deny that. One lady, though, has a particular problem with writing stuff down (you know I’m talking about you, lovely lady X 🙂 ). I’ve tried all sorts to get her to write a full story, including the ending. This post is to share with you all the creative ways I’ve come up with to get a story written.

1. Set aside a specific writing time

cuvier-eAs adults have less spare time than kids, it helps to set a specific time aside for your writing. The adult writers’ club runs every Wednesday afternoon, so I set every Wednesday morning aside for my short story writing.

I’m lucky not to have to go to work every day, but if you do, you may have to get more creative. Get up an hour earlier or work later into the night when you’re family is still/already asleep. Perhaps you can get your story down during your lunch break or while you’re commuting by bus/train/walking?

2. Just ‘write’

Writing on Mountain Top_W700This is my way. Each week we pick a few keywords and write a story about them. As soon as I know the words, I usually already know the major direction my story will be going in. I don’t always know the ending. In fact, most of the time I don’t. I like to surprise myself.

It doesn’t matter how you write. It can be with pen on paper, or typed on your computer, laptop, or phone. Any which way will do. You could write it in the sand with the tide coming in. You could even record your voice. The thing is to not let the inspiration slip away from you.

It also doesn’t matter where you write. I sit at my desk, but I have a friend who stands at his desk. Desks are not a requisite, though. You could be sitting in public transport, or like I mentioned earlier, walking to work or walking your dog (obviously, you’d be recording your voice as writing while walking is rather difficult and, quite frankly, dangerous). Some people go on holiday to write and get inspiration. You could write your story on a mountain top!

Two years of writing short stories has given me the experience to write a full story within one thousand words, but this may not be the case when you’ve just started writing. The 5-Finger Pitch may possibly help you.

3. 5-Finger Pitch

Microsoft Word - 5-Finger-Pitch.docxIt can help to know more specific what you’re going to write, when you know the major characteristics of your story. We used the 5-finger method to do this, and these are the five points you need to know before you start writing:

  • genre
  • protagonist
  • goal
  • obstacle
  • twist

I learned this system during an online creative writing course and have adjusted it a little. I changed the last ‘finger’ into the twist part. I love twists. Nearly all my stories have a twist at the end.

4. Plotting

Plotting is fun for some
Plotting is fun for some

For some, knowing these five points is still not enough to get to the ending of your story. In this case, you may want to plot your whole story before actually writing it. There are a lot of authors out there that plot every little detail of their novel before writing one sentence. I did this for my third novel and didn’t like it. Like I said before, I like my characters to surprise me and take me into directions I haven’t thought of before.

Apart from the 5-Finger Pitch, you may also need to know the following points to get your story written:

  • Setting and introduction
  • Change of status quo (at about 25%, i.e. 250 words)
  • Reaction
  • Midpoint/Resistance (at about 50%, i.e. 500 words)
  • Action
  • Lowest point of MC (at about 75%, i.e. 750 words)
  • Climax building
  • Ending/Resolution

Knowing roughly where the major turning points in your story are help you stick to the one thousand words.

5. Snowflake method

The Snowflake Method of writing
The Snowflake Method of writing

The above method does require you to know the ending. If you can’t make up your mind on how to end your story, or keep changing it, maybe the snowflake method works better. With this method, you start with writing the whole story in one sentence. Then, you divide this one sentence into three, giving you the beginning, the middle, and the end of your story. Next, you divide these three sentences each into three, more detailed ones. And so one until you have a story of about one thousand words.

Yes, this forces you to know the ending beforehand as well, but also forces you to stick with it. Well, technically, you can change the ending as soon as you’ve split it up from the rest of the story, but you’re not supposed to!

6. Start at the end

When all of the above didn’t work for my writing buddy, I racked my brain on how to get her to write a full story. As endings are her problem, maybe starting with the ending was the way to go. So, for next week, we’re writing a story starting with the end.  It doesn’t matter how detailed or how far ‘back’ you go as it’ll always have an ending (which actually is the whole point of this post).

Next week’s story is going to be a murder mystery, so it’s going to be interesting!

Write Backward
Write backward

Now, I know these methods don’t address the character arcs or tension building, etc. But that were not the issue here. These are six ways for those who have a problem writing things down and getting a full story happening. You can work on the other stuff once you have words down on paper. Like they say; you can’t edit a blank page !

If you know of any other methods of getting your story written, please do let me know. I’d love to hear them, just in case No.6 also doesn’t work…

The Watson Letters – An American Werewolf in Londen

I’m afraid I haven’t got a ‘Meet the Author’ interview for you this week as I’ve been too preoccupied with my trip to Dublin. However, some of you may remember Colin Garrow’s interview from 2016. Ever since I met Colin, I’ve been a great fan of his work. I’ve read his books The Demon of Devilgate Drive and Death on a Dirty Afternoon. I have, as well, read several of his The Watson Letters blogs.

Just now, Colin has started a new blog series, titled An American Werewolf in London. Holmes, Watson, and the witty and clever Mary, Watson’s wife (love that woman!), will tackle a new paranormal phenomenon in the UK capital. Get a bite of this one, and many more as Colin will continue the story in fortnighly(-ish) additions.

Read An American Werewolf in Londen, by Colin Garrow!

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Short Stories, Novel Launch, and Fantasy Promo

Yesterday, I attended the local writers’ club again for which I wrote a short story. I also wrote one last week which was a lot of fun as part of the assignment was to incorporate some innuendo. Check out the stories, called Surprise! and Scoring resp., under the Short Stories from 2018 menu heading.

Morgan_Deadly_DiscoveryToday is the launch day of Deadly Discovery, Alathia Morgan’s third book in the cozy mystery Nova Ladies series. Here’s the blurb:

Julie while recovering from her wounds in the line of duty, finds out that she isn’t who she had thought was. Her journey into the past, leads her on a path to meet her future, but there are some who don’t want the past to resurface. Determined to find out the truth about her family, Julie is in a race to sift through years of secrets before the past has a chance to silence her for good.

Morgan’s book is for sale for 99c on Amazon.

 

Another book that is on sale for only 99c (until the 25th of June):

Four O’Clock Alice

by Vanessa Ravel

Four_OClock_Alice

A little girl. An ancient enemy. A shared past.

Alice Davies wouldn’t hurt a fly, but death seems to follow her everywhere. And as the body count rises, people in Dolwicke start to whisper.

Little do they know, Alice is the least of their worries.

A diabolical entity lurks in the shadows, finding nourishment in the ravages of war and plague. The insidious being also hungers for Alice, who is safe so long as she obeys the mysterious four o’clock curfew imposed by her parents.

But she’s a curious girl.

Desperate to uncover the truth behind her predicament, Alice embarks on a frightening journey of self-discovery that will lead her to face an ancient enemy and to discover a world she not only belongs in, but where she reigns supreme.

If you like ancient myths and portal fantasies, you’ll love this surreal tale that will pull you down the rabbit hole for the adventure of a lifetime.

Four O’Clock Alice is for sale for 99c on Amazon.

 

Twisted50 Vol.2 Teaser Trailer

 

Twisted50Vol2_Winners

Woohoo! Remember I said my short story won entry to the Twisted50 Volume 2 horror anthology? Well, the book is at the printer as we speak and the Create50 team has made a trailer for it.

Watch it on YouTube.

I’ve read some of the other stories, and I can tell you, these authors have frickin’ weird minds. Some stories are wicked, some are horrific, and some will make you want to keep the light on at night. Macaroni will never be the same…

My story is called ‘Rumour has it…’ and it’s about a girl standing trial for five most gruesome murders. Is she guilty or not? You’ll have to buy the book to find out! It’s out soon.

Another Short Story – The Apparition

We didn’t have a meeting yesterday due to adverse weather conditions. There was a real blizzard blowing here, with the snow nearly going horizontal. There’s hardly anything left of it today, the ground not being cold enough for the snow to stay. But, as a result, I didn’t write anything. Not to worry, I found a piece I wrote last year that, for some obscure reason, I never posted. It’s called The Apparition and this should give you a hint on what’s happening in the story. Check it out here.

Another Short Story – Ushanka

Yesterday we wrote a story including a rhetorical question. The idea was to put one form of a rhetorical question in there.

Forms of Rhetorical Questions:

Erothesis – the question that isn’t a question at all; the speaker doesn’t wait for an answer.

Epiplexis – a lament or an insult is asked as a question.

Anacoenosis – the question where a particular audience will answer in a particular way.

Hypophora – a rhetorical question immediately answered aloud, usually by the person asking the question.

Anthypophora – asking questions while knowing the answers.

Aporia – asking a question you really don’t know the answer to.

I have tried to put all of these in my new short story, Ushanka. Can you find them all?

 

Another Short Story – Darlene’s Delectable Dishes

Alliteration

I’ll be trying to focus our Writers’ Club writing exercises on grammatical issues for the foreseeing future and this week we focussed on alliteration. I thought alliteration was the repetition of the first letter of a word as the first letter of the next word. You know, Peter Parker, I saw a see-saw sitting on a see-saw, dead as a door-nail. That kind of thing. How wrong was I? (This last sentence is an Australian form of rhetoric and isn’t a question at all. But more on rhetorics next week).

It appears, according to my oh so trusted Wikipedia, that an alliteration is a special form of consonance, in which a consonant sound is repeated in another word. This consonant can be anywhere in the word. Alliteration is a special kind of consonance, in which the consonant is in the stressed syllable. So, it doesn’t have to be the first letter at all.  Learned something again. Not that I used this knowledge when I wrote my short story…

It’s a fact that alliteration makes a text more pleasant to read and easier to remember. You can do it too much though, and this is called a paroemion. My short story (look; another alliteration 🙂 ), Darlene’s Delectable Dishes, certainly is a paroemion. Check it out!

 

Another Short Story – Rescue

This week’s story didn’t have any keywords. During our meeting last week, we discussed how we can improve our sentences. We used the article titled ‘How to write better sentences’ by Daniel David Wallace. You can’t find the article online, though. I’m afraid you’ll have to sign up to get it here. I can assure you it’s worth it as it has very interesting information. Check it out and see how it can help improve your sentence structure.

Anyway, one of the topics in the article is about verb sentences vs. noun sentences. It stresses to use strong verbs to improve action in your sentences. So we set our homework to write a story about mermaids using verb sentences. It’s called ‘Rescue‘ and can be found in the short story section of the menu. It’s a typical mermaid story, nothing special, no unexpected twists or anything, but has a lot of verbs in it. Enjoy!

Another Short Story

This week I had asked my daughter for some keywords. She didn’t make it easy. They were:

  • druid
  • frustration
  • Mount Everest
  • lampshade
  • mother

I postponed writing the story again and again until there was no time left. The story that appeared in my head is now titled ‘Contempt.’ You can find it in the Short Stories section of the menu. As always, it has a little twist at the end. Let me know what you think of it.

 

Header photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

It’s REALLY official now!

Twisted50Vol2WinnerLogo.jpg

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I had to brag some more. Above is the logo awarded to the winners. So proud of myself 🙂