Short Stories Are My Kryptonite

Oh, short stories. How I loathe thee.

I don’t like to write them. I usually don’t like to read them (I can count the short stories I actually enjoy on one hand). And yet, somehow, I have to publish them in order to get this thing called a “following” in order to get this thing called an “agent” in order to get this thing called a “book deal.”

So if you’re anything like me and don’t want to touch short stories with a ten foot pole, here are some ways around writing them.

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Write Flash Fiction
I’ll be covering this in more detail next week. But here’s the beauty of flash fiction: where a novel is a cross-country drive and a short story is a day trip, flash fiction is like a high speed car chase that zooms past you and is gone. It’s wonderful. Try it.

Write Backstory for Your Characters
You get to write a short story AND work on character development all in one! You’re welcome.

Take it From Concept to Concrete
This is just about the only way I can write a short story. First, I think of the concept I want to drive home with my readers (ex: heartbreak, illness, love vs. power, etc.). And then I let my mind drift. Whatever it happens to land upon, I try to make it work into a story. If it doesn’t, then I lather, rinse, repeat, until I get it right. This method is not for those in a time crunch. Sometimes I’ll spend a week on a concept just to toss it out the window in vain.

The main thing to remember as you struggle with your short story (because struggle you will) is that there is no harm in scrapping the whole dang thing and starting over. That doesn’t make you a bad writer. That makes you a bad short story writer.

Just kidding. I think I was supposed to end that last one with human.

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Regardless, I don’t know of any writer who can whip out short stories like place and bake cookies. So what if it takes you longer than most. The end result is still the same. (Side note: you’re welcome for the cookie pic. Now you’re craving some, amiright?)

What short story are you currently working on? I’d love to read/critique any. Just give me a shout in the comments below!

~Tay

 

Remembering Your Why

In the heat of the moment, when the struggle is real, and you’re wondering Why the heck did I do this again? you have to remember your why.

When I worked in direct sales for a hot minute, my upline was constantly asking me why did I want to sell this product and how I needed it to change my life. I wrote down, pinned it up, repeated it, lived it, remembered it. Why do I need a why? Because your why is what keeps you going when everything else slows to a stop.

As writers, we cannot neglect our why. Writing is a business that more often takes than it gives. You pour your heart and soul into your story, send it to a contest or agent, and you hear the crickets chirp. No one replies. You get passed up. And somehow you have to get back up from being kicked in the gut and start all over.

It’s not enough to write for the glory of writing. It’s not enough to write for the payout or the yes. At the beginning and end of it all, you have to write for you. You have to write for your why.

My why is that writing allows me to shape the part of my mind that is lost in fairytales and fictional worlds. While I lose myself to reading, I find myself in writing. The way I write is mine and mine alone. No one else can write like me. It is my fingerprint upon the earth. Writing makes me me.

What’s your why? Share it. Write it down. Rehearse it. Remember it.

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