Guest Blog Post by Tish MacWebber
An author can challenge themselves in various ways. One way is to write in a different genre. Multi-genre authors are becoming more common. Another way is to write different styles. Authors who write in only one genre can succeed, but they can get writer’s block or have their work go stale. If you are an author who wants to find their muse again, this blog will give you hope.
A fun way to shake things up is with flash fiction and short stories. Poetry is another choice. When you are looking for a true challenge, try a short story competition. Flash fiction qualifies. The craft of writing a short story is more complicated than you think.
Short Story Structuring
Stories include a beginning, middle, and end. In a short story, a compact word count means it requires precision editing. It requires the writer to capture the reader in line one and hold them until the end.
Social issues, the end of the world or what comes after are popular topics. If the correct level of drama is well written, the reader responds. This poignant approach will draw emotion from the reader. Humour is another way to approach writing a short story. The author may try to write suspense, horror, or add a plot twist.
Plot twists add the unexpected to the end of any story. They can be the one thing that stands out to excite readers. If you are new to writing short stories, don’t expect to become a pro right away. They take practice. If you want to write better, it is advisable to challenge yourself in this manner.
How to approach short story writing
The writing conundrum; there are no new ideas left. What else can an author write? We are experiencing an attack of covers in music and remakes in movies or on television. If authors dwell too long on this, they will become victims of the critics with no imagination. Authors must remember that they write to tell their story. If they tell it in their voice, using their tone and unique story crafting skills, they will succeed.
When you try something new, give yourself time to learn the craft before expecting peers in the industry to accept your work. When you write something that sings to your soul and makes you clap or cry, then you will know you have a chance at winning. Until you make yourself sense the way you want your reader to respond to your words, you won’t master any style or genre. If the topic is personal, it should be harder to write than to read after a break from the material. You need to write from your heart, pouring your soul onto paper not for yourself, but for the reader. If you do not challenge yourself, you won’t have that fresh set of eyes when you go back to working on your larger projects. By sharpening your writing and editing skills on something different, you will improve your writing and editing skills for your books.
Are you ready for the next part? We have not discussed the climax. How does a writer include the building blocks into a short story? If you work hard and make time for edits with beta readers, you can. The plot twist can be the climax, or it can be separate. Tension, passion or friction give the story substance. What about dialogue? If it adds to the story, it needs to be present. With so many elements required to craft a short story, is it any wonder the hardest part is to make it fit the condensed word count?
It will be longer than the required word count. To create a short story involves strong editing while keeping the flow. To write a short story, no matter what the prompt, is a difficult skill to gain. Once mastered, it will improve your writing and editing for future work.
An effective short story requires a prompt, structured with the building blocks described here, and above average editing skills. The author should know how the story will end before they write, otherwise it may wander into the realm of a not so short story. Sometimes, the words have plans of their own. If this happens to you, congratulations, your muse has returned. Any exercise in improving your writing skills is a win. If you can master the short story craft, it will assuredly not be a waste of your time.
Be sure to check out Tish’s first place short story Love in a Bottle HERE
She is the author who is Always Thinking… the jewellery designer who is Always Blinging…and her superpower is always being full of surprises!
#Tishspiration, her latest creation, is defined as the art of surprising yourself. She is inspired by the ocean, especially where the Atlantic Ocean kisses the beaches of Cape Breton Island, where her own story began.