Today I am combining two blogging challenges into one post. Not only is the A to Z Blogging Challenge just getting started, but I also have the Insecure Writers Support Group that I do on the first Wednesday of the month. Today is A to Z’s letter ‘C’ and ISWG’s monthly post.
As writers we are hit with challenges every time we sit down to write. For me, the challenge comes with writing a multi-scene short story. I tend to get stuck at nearly every new scene which means my writing will slow to a crawl.
When writing a novel it can take me several months to get from one scene to the next. When I write a short story, the problem is the same if I want more than one thing to happen. Unfortunately, my story could take months to write which leads to losing the momentum to writing it.
Did you read yesterday’s story, Beatrix Button’s Clock? I was quite pleased that it only took a couple of hours to write. There is essentially only one scene so I could get it out quickly. I did attempt to add a couple of scenes and every time I did I was bogged down.
If I could use a wish to get through more scenes I would wish for my mind to open up. I would love to have words pour out of my imagination and land on the page and the scenes to grow effortlessly. (For those of you who are writers, there’s no need to comment about how NO scene flows effortlessly. I get it. I know it. But I can dream, right?)
Challenges to write plague all writers whether it is a short story, a novel, poetry, or a letter to Beatrix Button. To rephrase a popular quote by Joshua J. Marine, “Challenges are what makes writing interesting and overcoming them are what makes the story meaningful”.
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~~~~ AND ~~~~
If you browse around the internet today you will find a plethora of information about short stories. As a matter of fact, if you do a simple Google search, “About Short Stories”, you will end up with about 2,050,000,000 results. Yikes! Reading all that will keep you busy for several lifetimes.
To help you with your research on the subject of short stories, I have listed a number of resources to help you learn whatever you want to learn about short stories. Of course, this is a VERY short list compared to the above search results, but these are some that have a nice bit of information.
- The online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica is a one stop shop for nearly everything. The write up on short stories is quite detailed from a simple definition through a thorough look at the history of them.
- The Writing Cooperative is a great resource for writing. I especially enjoyed their article on 5 Reasons Why Short Stories Are Far From Dead. As the title states, this is a piece about how the short story is thriving today.
- As the Editor of Writing from the Peak (Pikes Peak Writers blog) I would be remiss not to mention one or two articles from their blog. The first is, “What is a Short Story”. Obviously this is a post about the nuts and bolts of a short story. Another good post is, “Here and Gone in a Flash“. The latter of the two is an introduction to writing flash fiction which is a short story in less than 1,000 words.
- Writer’s Digest is bursting with information on writing short stories. I did a search on their website, “short stories” and the results were over twenty articles on the subject. A couple that caught my eye: Short Training for Your Long Game: How Writing Short Stories Can Help You Hone Your Novel-Writing Skills, and a podcast, The Writer’s Digest Podcast, Episode 3: Writing and Publishing Short Stories and Essays — Interview with Windy Lynn Harris
- READERS–I haven’t forgotten you! Are you looking for some great reads? I can suggest one anthology that I recently finished, “False Faces: Twenty Stories About the Masks We Wear” . This is a new release from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. But, if you would rather find your own, I hopped over to Goodreads to see what they had for their Best Anthologies. They listed 781 books. I’ll leave it to you to sort through that list.
So there you have it. Remember, there are about 2,049,999,992 more results you can browse through.
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And the Letter – A –
A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal
During the month of April I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I joined in on the fun last year and wrote all about the Isle of Man and The Manx. Today, I am revealing my theme for the month. But first, a little about what this is.
The premise is to start blogging beginning April First with a blog topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until the finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z. We skip every Sunday so we can all take a quick break and get ready for the next week.
My theme for this year will be little different from last year. I will take you A to Z with short stories. Recently, I became interested in writing short stories and have done a lot of research into the methods of writing them along with entering contests and making submissions. There is more to a short story than a quick read. My posts will cover everything from A, “All about a Short Story”, to Z, “Zebras Tell No Lies”, a short, short story.
During April you can expect to find a mix of stories along with posts on the research I have done. Readers will find the stories themselves to be the best part, so I will focus on those more than anything else.
Hang on to your virtual seats! It’s going to be a busy month.
If you are a blogger, and are interested in joining us, just click on the link below for more information.
I was asked whose point of view do I like to write from; the hero or the villain? I’ve never really considered writing from the villain’s point of view. I am just naturally drawn to the hero more.
It is all very selfish. I want to be the hero of my stories so I can live vicariously through the protagonist. What can I say? I’m not 25 years old anymore and the only way I can do all those “kid things” is to do them through words on a page.
I can explore all those “hero things” too by asking questions like, “What goes on in the mind of someone trying to save the world and themselves at the same time?” or, “What happens when a person (the hero) reaches their breaking point?”
Now that I’ve been asked this question I have to attempt something from the villain’s point of view. What would you explore if you could be in the villain’s mind?
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The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue,Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!
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Coming in April!!
During the month of April I will be joining A to Z April Blog Challenge by publishing daily blog posts (except Sunday) through the month of April. Each post will cover everything A to Z about writing short stories, and some posts will be actual short stories. Keep an eye out for those!
What is A to Z?
Are you a blogger and want to join in on the fun? Here’s how it works. Using the A to Z premise, you would start, beginning April first, with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z. It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself. The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.
Click on the A to Z logo above and join me! I’m excited to be participating again this year.
Besides writing, what other creative outlets do I have?
When I was in high school I was going to be the next Van Gogh (without the crazy factor). I dreamed of having a huge studio with massive canvases piled along every wall. In college it was the dream of photography. For twelve years I photographed everything from sunrises to newborns. Those were the days.
Today, so many years later, I am a writer, but I still love to photograph the world around me. Mother nature is the most wondrous place to be and my camera and I enjoy working together.
For today’s post, I am sharing just a few of my photos taken around Colorado.
Today’s post is inspired by Insecure Writers Support Group.
Every month, they announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story.
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This morning, I sat staring at my computer looking for inspiration. I noticed a bookmark that I saved ages ago. I left it in the nav bar so I could go back and check it out later. Instead, I proceeded to forget about it. Until now.
The book mark is to a plot generating website. It is similar to the game, Mad Libs. With Plot Generator, you put in a bunch of words and it will write a full short story for you. With my need to have some inspiration I plugged in a bunch of words, moods, places, and descriptions then I indicated I wanted a short story. It took a matter of about 5 seconds and VIOLA I had a short story.
Now, mind you, I had no idea what to expect. The words I gave were pretty arbitrary and some did not match up to what they asked for. It was a hodge-podge of gobbely-gook. As a result…this short story is too, but it’s also really funny. It is worth noting that I did not edit, change, reword, or touch this in any way. This is raw and right off the press. So, without further delay, here is an amazing short story.
Two Steady Uncles Swimming to the Beat
A Short Story
by KJ Scrim (written by Plot generator)
Kaitlin Manning looked at the heavy cup in her hands and felt depressed.
She walked over to the window and reflected on her homey surroundings. She had always loved small Parker with its quirky, quarrelsome quaint. It was a place that encouraged her tendency to feel depressed.
Then she saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Sam Goodman. Sam was a smart giant with rugged eyes and robust feet.
Kaitlin gulped. She glanced at her own reflection. She was a nasty, moody, cocoa drinker with skinny eyes and large feet. Her friends saw her as a barbecued, bitter bread. Once, she had even helped a shiny puppy cross the road.
But not even a nasty person who had once helped a shiny puppy cross the road, was prepared for what Sam had in store today.
The snow teased like playing dog, making Kaitlin happy.
As Kaitlin stepped outside and Sam came closer, she could see the bitter smile on his face.
Sam gazed with the affection of 9,468 funny flaky fish. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want equality.”
Kaitlin looked back, even more happy and still fingering the heavy cup. “Sam, Is that real leather,” she replied.
They looked at each other with satisfied feelings, like two clumsy, calm cats drinking at a very loyal party, which had rock music playing in the background and two steady uncles swimming to the beat.
Kaitlin regarded Sam’s rugged eyes and robust feet. “I feel the same way!” revealed Kaitlin with a delighted grin.
Sam looked curious, his emotions blushing like a fluffy, fluttering fork.
Then Sam came inside for a nice mug of cocoa.
Praise for Two Steady Uncles Swimming to the Beat
“I feel like I know Kaitlin Manning. In a way, it feels as though I’ve always known her.”- The Daily Tale
“About as enjoyable as being hailed on whilst taking in washing that has been targeted by seagulls with the squits.”
– Enid Kibbler
“Saying the snaw teased like playing dog is just the kind of literary device that makes this brilliant.”
– Hit the Spoof
“I could do better.”
– Zob Gloop
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Are your ready?
Now there’s a question I always have to scratch my head over, and return that question with another. How exactly does one get ready? Do you make lists? Throw things away? Clean the house? Wash the roof? I just don’t get it.
As a writer, I get some questions that also make me pull on my beard – well, I would pull on my beard if I had one. Here are a few of the top questions I sometimes don’t have a clear answer for.
“How’s the writing coming?”
Most people, who are not writers, may not understand why this is an odd question for a writer. You will, most likely, get the same answer from everyone. “It’s good.” Then the writer will stare blankly at you figuring out how to use you in their book. You could become a wizard or a side-kick, or (more likely) you’ll be killed in some horrific way.
“What are you working on? Can I read it?”
Well, sure. You can read it in about a year. After I have ripped my beard out. (In reality I don’t have a beard so you’ll be waiting a long time to be able to read a work in progress.)
Who is in your book?
This is another quirky question that I have gotten a few times that could be taken in a couple of ways. They could be asking whether they are in my book and will I kill them off for asking such a quirky question? Or, they are just curious about the characters I’m creating. I usually answer for the latter, but the former does cross my imagination.
Where can I buy your books?
This is one of the hardest questions for me. I, as of this writing, do not have anything in print right now. I wish I could say, “Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Bub, or anywhere books are sold.” Unfortunately, I can’t say that yet.
What I can say is that I am excited about what I have in the works. You have all already heard me talk about The Manx, and I promise to have it done this year. It is near completion and then it needs editing and revising. I also have a fun new project that has me giggling all the way through it. I won’t be saying more at this point, but I hope you will laugh as well.
With all joking aside, I actually love to talk about writing and the joy I get from it. I really do want to be asked “How’s the writing?” “What are you working on?” These questions, and more, keep me honest to my craft and to my audience. They remind me that I am a writer.
Thanks for stopping by today…
Keep those questions coming!! Add you own to the comments below.
Today’s post was inspired by:
The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
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Every month I join with a group of writers to answer a question. These monthly writing questions are a fun way for me to let you into my writing life taking a look at the frustrations, successes, and, sometimes, the everyday.
Today’s question from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is: What are five objects we’d find on your writing desk?
Sitting at my desk there is a general clutter of a lot of stuff, most of which is paper. Paper is the bane of my life. Worse yet, it’s self-inflicted. I am old school from the days when everything was done on paper. Computers and smart phones were straight out of black and white sci-fi movies, and calculators were owned by the rich. Today, in our paperless society, I still think it’s important to get a paper receipt, solve simple math problems with pencil and paper, and scratch notes on a pad. The process of writing things out helps my creative process and keeps my brain from turning to mush.
What else do I have on my desk? There are usually one or two coffee cups, sometimes three. One cup I am actively drinking from, the second is the cold cup of coffee forgotten from the day before and the third is if I throw in a cup of tea during a late-night writing session.
Reference books are within reach. Which include Roget’s Thesaurus (4th Edition), a very old dictionary, 20,000 Words (yes, that’s a real book that is a simple listing of 20,000 words in alphabetical order), The Phrase Finder, and The Emotional Thesaurus. I have been asked why I don’t just use the reference materials found on the internet? It is, again, that creative process. I find that by using my hands to turn pages, the feel of the paper, and the search in a book is more stimulating than staring at the computer screen. It creates an ebb and flow in my mind that sometimes picks up an idea that would otherwise never find its way to the surface.
Of course, I have a computer on my desk (go figure!). This is my central station for writing. With all of my tools in the physical world, the final steps in creative writing happen on the computer. Inside this electronic notebook sized piece of technology is the entire world. Not only do I keep all my writing here (I do keep backups too), but my business, bills, and grocery lists exist here. I have had computers crash and for a horrifying moment I think I’ve lost everything, but guess what? Yep, you guessed it- I have a paper copy of everything I’m writing.
The fifth thing? Well, it’s a group of things. Portraits of my family to be precise. There is a hand-colored photograph of my daughter that I created back when I was a photographer, along with two oil paintings of my son and husband created by my talented sister-in-law, Mary Scrimgeour. My family is my inspiration for life and these pieces of art remind me why I do what I do every day.
What are five objects we’d find in your writing space?
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Who’s purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
~~~CHECK OUT ALL THESE GREAT WRITERS ON IWSG~~~
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