Archive for August 2022

Keeping it Short #MondayMusings #OpenBookBlogHop #Inspiration   1 comment

My Corner

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

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Two Pentacles Publishing.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. Today’s question is: “Do you ever write short stories? What do you see as the biggest difference in the writing process between a short story and a full-length book?”

As a matter of fact, I’ve written a lot of short stories and am putting some into a collection I’m calling Living Vicariously in Wyoming. These stories are set mostly in Wyoming. The idea behind the title is this. When you read a short story or novel, no matter the setting, you’re living vicariously through those characters.

In a short story, unlike in a novel, there’s little room for character or plot development. You can’t take time to provide a lot of background information about characters. The reader only needs to know enough about the character…

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Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Talking Shorts by Daryl Devore   Leave a comment

https://daryldevore.blogspot.com/2022/08/daryl-devore-talks-about-how-her.html?sc=1661797904032#c4750570033517588450

Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Exploring Short Stories by PJ MacLayne   Leave a comment

Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – August 29th   Leave a comment

Stevie Turner

Welcome to another blog hop. The topic this week is:

Do you ever write short stories? What do you see as the biggest difference in the writing process between a short story and a full-length book?

I enjoy writing short stories more than novels. The older I get combined with the distraction of social media the more my concentration wavers, and writing short stories suits me better as I tend to become bored rather quickly with writing full-length novels. Many readers doubtless have similar concentration problems, and they might prefer reading short stories anyway.

The biggest difference in the writing process between a short story and a novel is that you will have fewer chapters in which to develop your characters and move your plot along. That’s okay with me, because then I don’t have to string out events with loads of unnecessary words. I usually find my stories tend…

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Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – The short and long of it   Leave a comment

Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Focused Writing   9 comments

Do you ever write short stories? What do you see as the biggest difference in the writing process between a short story and a full-length book?

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3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I’m a Novelist

I write novels. What’s more, I write series. Clearly, I like to write LONG. I’m not George RR Martin, but I love stories that take time to develop. That’s how I like to read them and that’s how I like to write them.

I’m Published in 5 Anthologies

I’ve written and published six short stories in the last few years. Why would I take time off from writing the novels I love to write shorts?

It’s all about sharpening my writer skills and asserting principles I feel passionately about.

I write Celtic-inspired high fantasy, apocalyptic, and coming-of-age novels. I want to write many other genres, but I don’t really have enough time to write a full-length mystery. But I can write a short story in a month and that’s a lot of fun. It’s something different and the anthology I usually submit to is a writing challenge for libertarian authors. I find it a wonderful exercise to try and show how libertarianism can peek out in a fantasy feudal society.

Different

I absolutely find shorts to be very different writing from novels. It requires focus. What are you trying to accomplish? As a discovery writer, that’s not something I normally start with. I usually write about 1,500 words before I know where I’m going with a novel. A short is not much longer than that. So I have to actually sit down and plan the story. No, that’s not my normal process, but it’s exercising muscles I need even as I write novels. I’m not going to become a plotter because I think my novel characters would abandon me, but I have a lot of fragment characters kicking around in my head that will sometimes volunteer for a short. They have a story too, but usually not enough to shape a novel around them.

I’d never been comfortable writing in first person present before I was writing to a word limit. Looking at my first fantasy short of Gateways, an anthology published by the writers’ cooperative I publish through, I was telling a story nearly twice as long as the story I eventually submitted. I wrote the story and I didn’t love it, so I sat down to re-write it after someone at the local writer’s guild read the story and said “first person present and give it a strong voice.” I rewrote it from the perspective of Duglys, a young man who lives through a tragic event, and tells the story to a group of travelers in a caravan he’s a horse handler for. Pivot of Fate has a wonderful voice that tells you a great deal about Daermad, the world of my high fantasy. The main character was a minor character in The Willow Branch, Book 1 of Daermad Cycle. Having broken the ice in first person present in a short, I have gone on to write an entire coming-of-age series in first person present.

I’ve since written shorts in alternative historical fiction, fantasy, a reformed fairy tale, a satire, a redemption story based on the Prodigal Son. The libertarian anthology I submit to is taking a pause and I really missed not writing a short story this spring. But who knows, maybe I’ll start writing shorts for my own book.

It’s not a technique I want to use all the time, but I do like the different skills I need to use.

I wonder how my fellow authors feel about this subject.

Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Editing is Writing   6 comments

How do you know when you’ve done all the editing you can on your story? Or that you’ve gone too far?

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As Many Times As It Takes

Editing is the working part of writing for me. I really enjoy the discovery of the story on the initial writing. As a discovery writer, I don’t really know what’s coming until I get to it. But after my first pass, the story isn’t over. There are holes in my story that you could drive a truck through and they need to be closed. Since I’m writing series, I need to check in with secondary threads. So my first editing pass fills in the holes and asks if things can be left off. I prune and fill in, reshape and move around. I actually enjoy this part almost as much as the first draft.

The second pass of editing is where the real work of looking for errors — spelling, grammar, passive voice construction, words I don’t need–begins.

The third pass is more of the same, but I run it through Grammarly to assure I didn’t miss any grammar errors. The fourth pass involves letting the computer read it aloud. I find a lot of errors this way and sometimes I hear sentence constructions that need to be revised that I missed when I was reading silently.

Then I send it to my editor who says she goes through it three times. She makes suggestions in the comments section rather than changing my writing and letting me figure out what she’s done. When it comes back to me, I do another pass and make the changes I think make sense and then I let my husband read the manuscript with a highlighter in hand. Sometimes he catches some stray errors.

When Has Editing Gone Too Far

In all honesty, I think I do enough editing passes, but I’m aware that you can edit too much. At writer’s guild meetings, I sometimes hear other writers talk about how they wrote 30 pages and then just deleted it all. I don’t do that. Although I change my manuscript, I save large passages in a slush document for later use — maybe. Sometimes I find gold mixed in on another pass of the dross and it shows up in a later book.

Posted August 22, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Speed Control   7 comments

Do you have any tips on controlling pacing in your stories? How do you manage it?

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It’s their story, but..

As a discovery writer who lets my characters tell me the story of their lives, I think pacing is one of the hardest writing goals to achieve. I earnestly believe that great characters drive the plot and their story matters more than just about anything else in the story, but sometimes they get so caught up in minutia that I have to move them along. Other times, they tell me story after story of unending motion and I have to slow them down. It’s all in trying to take the needs of the audience into account.

No matter how interesting a character might be, 20 pages of them making breakfast will wear down any reader and make the delete the book from their Kindle. So what do I do to keep things interesting?

It depends on the series. Transformation Project is much more of an action-oriented plot than What If Wasn’t or Daermad Cycle. And, yet, a fast pace isn’t always effective even for an apocalyptic. You need a balance between slow and fast scenes and probably some scenes that are moderate in pace too. It provides variety and that keeps the reader interested.

I do this by writing different types of chapters filled with sentences that are dissimilar.

Step on the Gas

When I want to speed up the pace or write an actual scene, I shorten my sentences to give them a sense a urgency. They take less time to read, so readers actually experience it that way. I get directly to the point and skip the unnecessary descriptions.

Short pithy exchanges of dialogue go a long way toward speeding up the pace. I try to add an element on confrontation and to let the way the characters use their words convey their underlying personalities.

The other thing I like to do to press on the accelerator is to employ cliffhangers. I’ll get to the climax of an action scene and hit the brakes, switch to a quieter scene and let the reader wait before resolving the action.

Using very active verbs that connote movement also contributes to the speed of the plot. A fight scene increases the pace as it adds a sense of urgency and danger. Even in What If Wasn’t, it sometimes pays to speed up the plot with something busy and quick in movement, to keep the reader interested.

All these make the reader feel as though he or she is rushing through the story. Everything contributes to the sense that the story is driving forward to an important arrival and we aren’t paying attention to anything else.

Now Slow It Down

Even thrillers need to slow down and smell the roses sometimes. I don’t want to wear my reader out by never giving them a rest.

You know how it is with a Beethoven piece — there’ll be a section of big music with a lot of movement and then suddenly it will be slowed down to just a piccolo and a violin pretending to be a bird in a forest glade? That’s kind of how I want my writing to be.

Slowing the pace means writing longer sentences and longer paragraphs and sometimes even longer chapters. My characters talk about their pasts, their philosophies, the day-to-day struggle of living after the apocalypse. I increase the number of passive voice sentences, but only by a little bit. I want to slow my readers down, not put them to sleep. My characters notice their setting–slower pacing is a great time for description. They also notice their own internal dialogue more. Now is the time to do some world-building.

Alternatively, since I’m writing series, a slower-paced section can be accomplished by shifting my focus to a secondary storyline. My stories are less a straight-road and move a web of interconnecting characters all with their own lives and stories to tell. Subplots are a great way to provide respite from the faster pace of the main narrative. These plot sloughs create great territory for flashbacks (which PTSD-sufferer Shane Delaney experiences often), backstory, character enrichment, or laying the groundwork for future plot. That said, I have to disallow myself some subplots as you can overdo and devolve into rabbit-chasing. I love subplots and characters, but I need to keep my reader in mind when I’m writing to publish.

I often keep the subplots I delete as story fodder for a future rainy day. I never know when the information you’ve put in a bit of writing will become a full-fledged plot someday in a future book.

Posted August 1, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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