Where I Prattle About Short Stories
Someone just asked me the other day how writing a short story was different from writing a novel. Since I have yet to finish my novel, 7 Sins: Save My Soul, (for the love of Christ, back-off, it’s almost done) my answer was a simple chin-sidedip shoulder shrug thing followed with a solid, “I dunno.”
They made the question easier for my brainspace, (cuz me likes simple) “How do you write a short story?”
My eyes narrowed. My mind pondered. “I think what you’re asking me, is how does one write a short story?” I did this weird thing with my eyebrows that told them, well, I have weird eyebrows. That answer seemed logical since I already know how I write a short story and me giving details of how I do it didn’t seem relevant.
I massaged my beard for effect and adjusted my glasses (because all intellectuals wear spectacles) then I dropped the bomb: “Everyone has a different style.” I watched as that answer rattled in their headcase. It was like a little atomic bomb went off in said head.
WHOA! That was some serious shit.
WAIT! That was some serious intellectual shit.
Then I though on it. I’m not gonna lie, I probably napped on it too. Most likely I did because fuckin’ naps!
Here it is, for you people – the special ones – who follow my blog. Much appreciation (that’s two fists bumps to the chest-covered heart space and a two-fingered kiss to each and everyone of you).
FIVE FOUR EASY STEPS TO A SHORT STORY
1. You will need a pen and paper or a computer. What? Ohhh, that’s not right.
But you will need something to put your thoughts down on so grab whatever it is that you need.
1. THIS IS REAL. READ. READ MORE. THEN READ!
An excellent place to start is to READ short stories first. I know, it sounds completely absurd, right? Wrong! Read your ass off to get a clue on how shorts are done. Read some classics. Read some contemporary writings. Just read them.
This will give you an idea of what you like. It will offer you a look into the world that you’re attempting to invade. It’ll show the ways of tying intro, plot, and ending into a nice little ball that is capable if taking someone’s head off at blistering speed.
2. DEVELOP SOME STUFF.
For me, I tend to develop an ending first, BUT, that’s me. You’re not me. I’m not you. Until I am.
You may find my approach helpful, but if not, try this concept to writing short stories: a) create a character, b) develop a descriptor, c) follow it with an event OR conflict, d) end that sucker.
Here’s an example: Cheating fiancé dies in fiery car crash and her head melts.
In this nonchalant scenario, the character + descriptor = cheating fiancé. The event and conflict is a fiery car crash where her head magically melts.
Did I just write magically?
3. SHIT HAPPENS – THE WRITING.
Here’s where fun begins. Let’s remember that you’re writing a short story so the intro needs to be good. It needs to grab the reader’s attention and hold aforementioned attention like a forged iron grip to the nutsack.
This is important. Grabbing the attention, not gripping the nutsack. A dull intro and the reader is splitsville.
My suggestion here is to just write words. Get your shit on paper first. It might be jumbled thoughts of incomplete sentences, but there’s this thing called editing and that works wonders.
So, in summary – spew word vomit forth onto page and worry about dazzling with the intro in the editing stage.
4. EDIT THE HOLY SUCKINESS OUT OF YOUR WORK.
Someone, many people, whoever, said that all writing is rewriting. True point.
I say, “If it’s worth writing, it’s worth editing.”
You need to own your shit. Here you will cut, rewrite, edit, and remove the complete swampass from your story.
You will place final touches on your masterpiece. You will sit back and smile. You will like yourself.
Last, this is where you proclaim yourself the best goddamn writer that ever lived. Noyeah, don’t do that. EVER.