Saturday, November 30, 2013

Short stories, proofreading, A Writer's Plot.

I use Grammarly for proofreading because glasses of wine make lousy proofreaders and greyhounds just think it's all about them. 

As some of you know the last Writer's Plot challenge of the year is a Bon Jovi Challenge - based on Bed of Roses - because it's got great lyrics.

Turns out I've become a tad obsessive over my story. I know? Not like me at all. (I actually did see a flying pig then, so shush.)

Next year the Writer's Plot challenges will be slightly different. The emphasis is changing. This year we've all had a lot of fun writing some very odd stories with all manner of strange criteria ... that part won't change. What will change is how much proofreading and editing is done before the stories are submitted. 
Utilizing critique partners will be compulsory (which of course means the stories will no longer be fully anonymous). 
Using Grammarly will be encouraged. 
Reading stories aloud to anyone who will listen (even the cat, dog, or chickens) will be encouraged.
Setting the story aside for at least a day before editing is important.
Happily everyone has the formatting sorted now, I hope. 
And, they're all following the story guidelines and criteria. 
Ticking those boxes. 
Now it's time to up the game.

Next week Murray and I will each be editing one of the winning Challenge stories from previous challenges. Our aim is to show how stories (even winning ones) are improved by a little bit of editing/proofreading. It will be a hands on lesson in how to edit and how to decide what's in the best interest of the story. 

If I have time I'll also find some POV examples and set a short exercise based on first, second and third point of view. POV seems to be a sticking point for a few of the Writer's Plot folk. 
There will be an upcoming challenge centered around POV. Such fun!

Meanwhile, I'm still fiddling with this story. I think it's time to say, enough! :)

The basics of short story writing:
1. Start with a great first sentence and build on it.
2. Don't waste words.
3. Make sure there is a beginning, middle, and end!
4. Make good word choices.
5. Get to the point!
6. Show don't tell.
7. Every character should want something.
8. Short stories are a small slice of life, don't pack too much in.

I could go on  ... but you get it. Short stories are SHORT. There is no time to fluff about with wandering descriptive prose. Say what you need to say with as few words as possible and move on.

Meanwhile I did something else today that was a lot of fun!
It's a work in progress at this stage - we don't have a cover yet. 
Here it is:

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