how long is a short story? do you end your short stories or do you leave them unfinished? how do you overcome writers block or better yet how do you finish a short story when it seems that the story keeps flowing? Is it better to handwrite or type stories?
February 3rd, 2004, 11:47 PM
1-500 = flash fiction
501-10000 = short story
10000-20000 = novellete
20000-40000 = novella
The above are subject to wide debate.
Never leave a major thread in a short story untied. Readers don't want to be left their entire lives wondering what happened and will hate you for it. A little mystery can be effective if done right.
It's all in the ideas. Over time my ideas have grown smaller and tighter and perfect for short stories. You need to adapt.
I type. Much easier, you can edit as you go and edit when you're done. You just need to train your eyes to spot errors on the screen.
That's just me. Every writer will have a different view or some techniques that work for them.
February 16th, 2004, 02:45 AM
Words on a screen somehow seem different from those on paper. I try to use both when editing.
Length is the least of my worries. Go with it. You know you're editing things right when you start taking things out. Shorter is better.
February 16th, 2004, 09:51 AM
I've also begun a string of short stories. The length really varies on how much short story I have to tell. My shortest is just under 700 words (not counting one I did for club 55 and red writing hood). Those were 55 words and 100 words respectively. and my longest short story was 12,000 words. As milamber pointed out, the length of a short story is often open for debate and usually depends on where you're submitting to and what their standards are.
I like Will's approach of writing everyday, I wish I could find that kind of time. The time I find is usually sporadic but I do find time to write 1 or 2 short stories a week, depending on the length of the short story. I've gotten good at shorter stories, but every once in a while a lengthy creeps up on me. That usually happens when I get to the end of what I intended to write and suddenly realize... wait a minute... what happens next? NEVER EVER leave a story wide open. All stories should have a begining and an end. I've found it's ok to hint strongly that something else is going to happen, for as we all know, the world didn't start nor end with your story (unless you blow it up that is).
For writer's block, I'd have to say, persevere. Just because you don't have a great idea in your head at the moment, don't let that stop you from writing something, anything, down. Even if it's just a story from your day at school, or work, or with your family. Do TRY and write a little everyday. I've found that even if I can squeeze in 10 minutes of writing, I have a sense of accomplishment. For those days when I just cannot get started or don't have enough time to get started, I'll re-read one of my own and edit, edit, edit.
One other thing I've started doing to get over writer's block, submit your stories somewhere. If you feel it's a strong story, send it to a pro mag. If it's not so strong, perhaps you weren't at your best when you wrote it, send it to a semi-pro or even a free web-zine. In doing this and getting a piece or two published, you'll gain just that much more cinfidence in your writing and you'll want to write more.
IMHO, tis better to type than write. I'd rather copy and paste an out of place sentence than to draw arrows to where it belongs.
The best thing to do, is write, write and write some more, but as a good rule, read what you are trying to write. Research is invaluable, espically if it's a write you admire.
February 17th, 2004, 06:41 AM
There must be something in the water, I've just started writing short stories as well. I figure it has got to be a good way of tightening up my writing.
As for how long, writers block and those other questions.
As long as it needs to be. Try and write everyday, and if it keeps flowing I'm not sure I would try and stop it - see where it goes.
Write or type - type every time, I can type a lot faster than I can write.
February 17th, 2004, 01:11 PM
I also suggest writing daily. You can become a better writer only by writing. I had always felt a strong urge to write something but I rarely got the motivation to do so. Then I came up with a good plot and I thought it would make a good novel. So I wrote down all the details of the story I could come up with.
Now follows the most important part. When I felt that the next thing to do was to actually write the story down I decided to do exactly that. I forced myself to write 1000 words every day (in Finnish => longer words :). I set the goal to the day I would have 50 000 words and before I noticed that day arrived. This happened late last week and since then I've had a couple of days off. Now I intend to finish the story which shouldn't take too long.
So what do I mean by all this? Have I created the ultimate novel by writing daily? Nope - probably it contains more illogical structures and bad plot twists than it should, but my two points are:
1) Now I have material to work on - to perfect my novel is going to take a _long_ time but at least I'm making progress.
2) I have most likely accidently learned something. Just maybe I am a little better writer than I was two months ago. After my next story I may have learned even more and so on... All the way to the day I'm going to take over the world with my books :)