Tag Archives: Short Stories

First short story completed after 10 years

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(We went down to the beach at sunset to enjoy a family evening out. I enjoyed it so much more knowing my little project was complete.)

 

Yes, I’ve finally done it. I’ve completed story.

This is something I have not been able to achieve since high school. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post there are various stories and novels that I’ve worked on but nothing I have actually finished.

There were several factors that helped me complete my first written story in 10 years, these may help anyone else struggling with procrastination.

  • start small – in this case I needed to only complete a short story
  • find one item (in this case it was an artwork) that you will look to for ideas and inspiration
  • have a deadline – this was easy because I was entering a local competition, and therefore had no choice but to complete the story on time

When I first thought of the idea for the short story I was very excited about it. I went to bed that night and couldn’t sleep for all the plot points swirling around the bedroom. However, on completion of the piece, I have to admit that my love for writing had definitely been tested.  After writing numerous drafts, critical reviews by friends and partner, I was extremely bored with the whole thing. I felt like I was back at university again, tweaking an essay that had driven me crazy for weeks.

I had to remind myself that readers have new eyes, and they may be just as excited about the idea as you first were. Once edited, friends who were read the story for the first time provided positive feedback. That’s when I knew I was close to finishing.

When you complete the final edit, and print it out for the last time its a great feeling!

(On a side note: getting friends and family to read it was the best thing I could have done. They found obvious flaws I had missed and helped me improve it greatly. If you are thinking about getting people to proof and critique your work, let them. Its better that they read the less quality version instead of a publisher!!)

I know that some of you who read this may have already published novels and completed many stories and might have great advice for me. Well, please share your thoughts, I am happy to receive feedback.

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Sidetracked from my goals by the easy stuff

With little time I often write the “easy stuff” in order to feel like I’ve achieved something each day. By doing this I am avoiding what is really important to me; my short story and novel.

The easy things are smaller pieces of writing, boxes that I can easily tick each day, for example, a diary entry, composing a post on my favourite blog, or writing up a short article for my website. Material for these tasks surround me each day. They are almost effortless to put together.

I feel that these easy things are my form of procrastination, avoiding the bigger writing tasks. I often ask myself:

Am I afraid to begin these projects, or am I simply lazy? Perhaps its all just too hard.

Writing stories comes less easily to me. Its tough to make sense of an idea I have, and make it work on paper. Its somewhat of a logistical feat for me. Perhaps I should stick to writing short stories for a while; keep my ideas in check, give myself narrow parameters to work within, and develop my writing skills slowly within controlled confines.

My Short Story – how to start, how to develop

At the moment my short story is planned out and only partly written. I’m not completely happy with all of the ideas but sometimes when I write out the story other ideas may flourish. This is the first hurdle for me. Getting the entire story written out. I need to write it out regardless of whether I’m happy with it.

I know from the short writing course I attended that authors create draft, after draft. You’ll never have the perfect story straight away.

I thought I’d add here what constitutes a short story. You may already know this, but I found it and thought it was helpful.

Short stories

  1. have a narrator; that is, someone tells the story;
  2. have at least one character in them;
  3. have some action occur (or perhaps fails to occur);
  4. take place somewhere; that is, there is a setting for the action;
  5. and someone either learns something or fails to learn something (theme).

If I can get my short story finished then I can begin a few exercises which may help me transform it into something I really love. Or, the second draft.

Some exercises once I’ve finished the first draft:

1. write the story from another characters point of view – quite a common exercise, helpful nonetheless

2. write out facts I know about each character and build who they are – colour in the background

3. change the setting – mix things up a little, put your characters in an environment they are uncomfortable in

I will try to achieve these steps and let you know how I go.