Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I have no idea what I'm talking about...

*** but someone did ask me what I thought about writing short stories, my take on it. And here it is. These things help me. If they don't help you that's not my problem. :P

#1: Find the Meaning of every story, even if what you feel you’re writing is drivel, because something is trying to get out, be understood, and you owe it to yourself and the story to uncover/discover that meaning, to understand it, and display it to the reader and let them agree or disagree.

#2: Write as clean as possible on every first draft. Saves time later to actually live.

#3: Expose as many of your character's weaknesses as you do his strengths.

#4: Put your ego to the side when creating. It only gets in the way. In fact, put it aside in general, it gets in the way of everyone.

#5: Let your imagination run wild. Trust that it and your subconscious will develop something wondrous and somewhat original. Something you can be proud of because it’s truly yours.

#6: Find three good people who can read your work and give you honesty without much back patting. The more they point out what you’re doing wrong, the faster you can absorb it and improve.

#7: Once in a while sit down and copy one of your favorite short stories, by hand, in a notepad. Just don’t try to sell it. (the story. You can sell the notepad.)

#8: Read more non-fiction about history, autobiographies, music, hobbies, special interest, psychology, religion, pretty much anything. There are hidden treasures all around you that you can use in your work, things that will pop up naturally in a story because they’re right, they fit. Go on. Don’t be scared.

#9: Give as much as you get. No one likes a taker who takes, takes, takes. Thank people. Give back.

#10: Experiment outside your genre (if you write only Horror, write something else for a bit. Write a Romance short, a Sci-fi short, a Fantasy short.) and read widely. Very widely. Being narrow minded only makes your stories narrow minded. By opening up to other ways of thinking and by pushing your boundaries you can have a subway, a gigantic tunnel that attracts more people. Then you can squash them with your genius. But be humble about it.

That's my drivel. Use what you can. Don't sue me if it gives you a headache or gives you cancer.


Natalie L. Sin said...

If by "weakness" you mean nudity, then consider it done! ; )

Aaron Polson said...

#7 is very, very powerful. I use it with my high school students. Thanks for sharing the list!

K.Hinny said...

I agree with #7 and I'm happy that you wrote that down! I'd never thought about it until you mentioned it to me earlier, Lee. I like this post and everyone should always remember that which works for one doesn't work for everyone!

We, as writers, have to find our own stuff, brainstorm until we find our own formula, but offering what works for you is a grand idea bc it helps to know that we all have a process.

You're fantastic! Stick to it and I trust that your post will not give me cancer... unless you posted a radioactive spider somewhere and it will jump out on unsuspecting victims...???


Laurie said...

Great stuff!

It's so easy to see only word counts and progress, especially when writing isn't the only thing you do in a day.

Thanks for such good advice on the actual writing, the process of telling the tale.


Cate Gardner said...

Nice list, Lee. And I've never tried number seven, so I guess I should give it a go.

Anonymous said...

Great list!

I think it applies to any writing, not just shorts. Though if you want to tackle copying LOTR or "War and Peace" by hand, you probably suffer from some kind of martyr complex and should seek professional help.

As usual, your insight is penetrating, Lee.

Lee Thompson said...

Nat: Ha!

Aaron: Cool! Great to hear!

Kara:Thanks, and I agree, we do all have our own processes and this is just some things that work for me. How did you know about the radioactive spider? :P

Laurie: You're welcome. Glad you found
something useful. :)

Cate: Yay! Try #7. :)

Shaun: Thanks for the read and comment, bro. I think I do have a martyr complex. I'm copying this Jack Cady novel (it's very short) called Street. Awesome book, man. Gonna read your chapter and give you my thoughts today! (It's raining here so Dale canceled work).

Thanks for the read and comments everyone.

Ben Eads said...

Love it!

Lee Thompson said...

Thanks, Ben!