The logistics of slush piles demand ruthlessness, and stories that don’t intrigue the reader early on won’t get a second chance later. So, you’ve got your hook. It’s dramatic, it’s ingenious, and it’s free of typos. Your first two pages have been polished to near oblivion. Now what?
Archive for the ‘Tips for Beginners’ Category
If I’m unsure about a story, I put it on probation, and take another look 6 months later before I either lock it up, set it free, or possibly keep it on probation.
A machine that creates gourmet meals-on-the-go in exchange for credits is still just a vending machine.
We can pick our teachers and we can pick our friends and we can pick the books we read and the music we listen to and the movies we see, et cetera. You are a mash-up of what you let into your life.
I’ve been told by highly skilled writers that this is a good exercise–something to do for now, but eventually I’ll grow out of this once I internalize it. I believe them! I really do. The thing is, I keep discovering different structures to try, and I can’t see myself internalizing any of them until I run out of new ones.
Anything I can control, I pay close attention to. Contracts. Personal relationships. The words. Stories I want to tell.
Write a lot. This is almost all I need to say, as nothing else matters without the constant practice of writing a lot. Write blog posts and letters, booklets and diatribes, letters to the editor and book reviews, love poems and short stories, novellas and manifestos. The sheer mass of your writing becomes the raw matter from which to chisel your voice.
A “mainstream” short story can be about anything: a mood, a character, a setting, even a flashy writing style. A genre (SF or fantasy) short story is about an idea. The fictional elements (character, plot, setting, etc) are only there to dramatize the idea. Here are the rules for the SF (or Fantasy) short story.
Well, folks. This is it. The final post in the series. I’m going to finish identifying basic patterns for the resolution phase, summarize what I’ve presented on structure, and wrap the whole series up.
Readers want their tension to build to a pitch. Then they want to feel a release. The resolution phase is where you deliver that delicious release.