Today I returned to my story, Melina Unbound. Made some progress with Melina’s voice. She still isn’t the bitter, angry young girl she’s supposed to be but it’s better. I find I have to keep going over her words (she has no dialogue but it’s first-person so all the words are hers) and find new ones that don’t just relate what’s happening but also tell about her and her emotions. The first thing was to use contractions. Then there had to be more than a description of the food but what she thinks of it as she describes it.
The first draft was third-person and I’m still finding her and replacing with I. I’m also trying to figure out where the section breaks should be. There are jumps in time that need to be set off by a break, and there are more significant breaks where something fundamental in the story has changed. Something like a combination of paragraph breaks, scene breaks, and then story shifts represented by what? An extra break that becomes scroll art in the final copy?
I can worry about that later. I just need to finish this revision.
Writing 50,000 words of short stories in a month is my personal challenge. I wanted a way to jump start my short writing and this challenge is certainly doing that. My writing tends to be long with many plot threads and an epic scope. Writing short requires focus on a few characters, a single plot, and one or two locations.
Writing short requires depth. Not that an epic shouldn’t be deep, but a short story demands a depth that is apparent and felt in just a few words. Also, specific to genre, the short story does not give much space for world building. I am finding that challenge to be the most enjoyable. Defining the character’s situation within a secondary world or alternate first world in no more than a paragraph or two worth of words is delicious. It can only help in my longer works to be more concise and focused.
Writing this many stories (I’m up to five so far) in a short period of time has also revealed my tendencies and repetitive faults. This may be the most valuable part of the exercise. Rather than learning over the course of a year or two that I always start a short story the same way I see it right away, and I can correct it before any of the stories goes out into the world.
This #NaStoWriMo may be the way I spend next November too.
How is your #NaNoWriMo #NaStoWriMo going?
I have created a new feature, a monthly Best Online Short Stories list so welcome to the first edition.
This is a list of the best short stories I’ve read in the past month. These stories were published online, though some may also have been published in a print journal or e-zine. These online stories represent excellent work, often by new writers, and I simply wish them well and a wider audience.
If you read something great this month, share it.
- The Dead Father Cookbook by Ashley Booms
Ashley Bloom: http://www.ashleyblooms.com/
A creepy story that may say too much about me in the fact I thought it was fun.
- What if I Fall by Anne Dafeta
Anne Dafeta: https://ajdafeta.wordpress.com/
The tension and pacing are very well done.
- Ten Thousand Sleeping Beauties by Jocelyn Koehler
Jocelyn Koehler: http://www.teamblood.org
A thoughtful, poignant tale with big themes in a small space.
Each of these stories are by writers without long publishing credentials but they are all strong writers with excellent voices.
Other good stories for July 2017
- Birds on an Island by Charlie Bookout
- The Voice of the People by Alison Moore
- The Hidden by Melissa Pleckham