Writing a Short Story

A novel requires a certain kind of world-building and also a certain kind of closure, ultimately. Whereas with a short story you have this sense that there are hinges that the reader doesn’t see.

Dan Chaon

 

Short-Story

Short Stories Can Be Fun

Writing a short story is fun. Well, it can be in certain ways. If your not a short story writer then you probably won’t find them fun, but how can you know until you have given it a crack.

The biggest thing I love about short stories is that they are easy and quick to read as well as write. You can get the first draft written in a matter or hours. The thing that really does it for me is that you can find out what the conclusion is not long after you start reading. Unlike a novel, you don’t stop and start reading. There is no suspense of waiting to find the time to read the next part; a short story will begin and finish before you know it.

Depending on what you want to do with a short story or what idea you have will depend on how you write. A short story can be finished in a day, or a week, or a month. However, with every type of writing there are positives and negatives.

You can write a short story in two hours. Two hours a day, you have a novel in a year.

Ray Bradbury

Four Steps to Help You Write a Short Story

1. Read Short Stories.

If you are a writer then you have probably heard it a hundred times but writers read what they want to write. If you want to write science fiction, read science fiction; if you want to write romance, read romance; if you want to write novels, read novels; and if you want to write short stories, then write short stories.

If you have never read a short story then you might have a hard time writing one. You are going to have no idea what you are doing. Taking a real good and deep looking at one or two short stories will help improve your understanding. Study them and find out what makes them so good.

2. What are you writing about?

If you plan to write a short story, or anything for that matter, you need to know what you are writing about. So take a couple minutes, or thirty, or hell even take a hour to write down what you story is about. You could write a couple of lines or a whole page. This summary will help you understand what your story is really all about. Because if you don’t know what is it about then how will those who read it?

3. Write it!

The best thing to do is just write. Don’t worry if it sounds like absolute crap the first time. You can improve it later. Every write should know that your first draft will always be crap. Just put your pen to paper, or your fingers to keys, and get going. Before you know it you will have either started your story or finished it.

And don’t worry about how long it is. If you are trying to write a 5000 word story then its fine if the first draft ends up being 6000, or 7000. As a writer you should know that you will cut down. You will remove words and sentences to make it better.

4. Rewrite, edit, repeat.

The best thing a writer can do is rewrite but don’t rewrite until you have finished the first draft. You will rewrite, then edit, and then do it again and again until the words on the page, or the words on the screen, will be the best damn story you have ever written.

It can be the hardest part of writing a short story and it can feel difficult. It can be hard to change things but in the end it is for the best.

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Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Goodreads Average Rating: 4.03 out of 5

Genre: Fiction, Adult, Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Detective

Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy

“‘Wake up, Genius.’ Rothstein didn’t want to wake up. The Dream was too good. It featured his first wife months before she became his first wife, seventeen and perfect from head to toe. Naked and shimmering. Both of them naked.”

– Part 1 Buried Treasure, Finders Keepers by Stephen King

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Three different times.

1978: Morris Bellamy is a reader obsessed by America’s iconic author John Rothstein; so much so that he is willing to kill.

2009: Pete Saubers, a boy who discovers a buried trunk containing cash and notebooks written by Rothstein.

2014: Thirty-five years in prison and Morris is hell-bent on recovering his treasure. And Bill Hodges, who is running an investigative company called ‘Finders Keepers’, to rescue Pete from an ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris.

Finders Keepers is an another fantastic suspense novel. I found it hard to put it down from the very beginning. From the very first pages the story was a constant build of momentum.

One thing I have noticed when it comes to Stephen King’s work is that I can never get enough. Every book I pick up to read keeps me enthralled and wanting more. I simply can’t get enough.

In Finders Keepers the story jumps between the three different time periods but it isn’t hard to follow. The characters all go through their journey’s but end being brought together. The constant build of momentum of the story had me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. My favourite character was certainty Morris Bellamy though. He was such an interest yet weirdly obsessed character who would go to any length. The story was a comfortable pace but seemed to grow faster as faster as it unfolded.

I was glad that the ending wasn’t a disappointment. I have read many stories that have had such a good body. They built momentum and the characters were great, but once I reached the end the story would fall flat. This was not the case with Finders Keepers, it was great till the end.


So hello all!

The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me so I haven’t had to time to sit down and write. I also didn’t have time to complete Finder Keepers two weeks ago but I did finish it and finally got this review up for you.

Hopefully this week everything will go back to normal. I will have a post up on Friday.

I’ll see you then!

Top 5 Books You Should Read If You Haven’t Already

Normally on a Tuesday I post a book review. And today’s review was meant to be the current Stephen King book that I am reading, however, I haven’t had the chance to finish reading the novel so I came up with this little idea instead.

Not everyone buys a book to read just because it is new. I am constantly finding books that I have never even heard of and they were published years ago. So I decided I am going to give you my top five recommendations. These are the books I think you should read if you haven’t read them already. So here we go.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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Goodreads Average Rating: 4.04 out of 5

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Alternative Dimensions

Published: 24 February, 2015

‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ in the first installment of V. E. Schwab’s series. The story follows Kell, who is a rare magician who has the ability to travel between worlds, and Delilah, who is a thief. These two characters are thrown together after Delilah steals from him and then also save him from a dangerous enemy.

The overall story is a thrilling read and never gets boring. Excitement lays over every page and the characters are hard not to love.

‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ was my favourite book of 2015, and the sequel ‘ A Gathering of Shadows’ came out earlier this year.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

23569524Goodreads Average Rating: 4.31 out of 5

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopia, High Fantasy, Romance

Published: 28 April, 2015

‘An Ember in the Ashes’ follows two points of views. Going back and forth between Laia who is a slave and has her whole life turned upside down, and Elias who is a soldier and has been trained to be one since he was a child. Both of them want to be free, but both of them are stuck.

The first book is Sabaa Tahir’s series, ‘An Ember in the Ashes’ is a thrilling journey for these two main characters. The whole book is addicting and with every page I wanted more and more, and when it ended I just wanted to cry. There are no boring sections in this book, it is fantastic from start to finish.


Horns by Joe Hill

6587879Goodreads Average Rating: 3.91 out of 5

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

Published: 1 March, 2009

With a name like Ignatius Perrish and a pair of horns growing from a head, I couldn’t really tell what this story was going to be about. But by the end I was amazed. Joe Hill, did an amazing job creating this story about Ignatius, or as he is called Ig, who wakes up one morning with horns growing from his head. You quickly learn that Ig’s long time girlfriend has been murdered and the whole town believes that Ig is guilty, but he didn’t do it.

From beginning to end the story is interguing and keeps you wanting to read. The only thing that disappointed me were the last few pages. I feel the ending pushed the story too far. But ignoring that small section the story is fantastic.

If you have seen the movie, which starred Daniel Radcliff and you didn’t enjoy it, well ignore the movie and pick this book up. It is just amazing.


The Host by Stephanie Meyer

1656001Goodreads Average Rating: 3.84 out of 5

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure

Published: 6 May, 2006

From the author who brought the world ‘Twilight’ comes a story that it completely different. There are no sparkling vampires or hunky werewolves, instead there is a thrilling story about a human, Melody, and an alien that takes over her body, Wanderer.

Stephanie Meyer brings a new life to her writing with a Science Fiction story that has friendship, family and romance, along with action and fighting for survival. Personally I think that the host is a better story that the ‘Twilight’ series. ‘The Host’ is thrilling, and interesting and not a boring read. The movie isn’t bad either. If you didn’t like ‘Twilight’ then do not fear because this book is nothing like it. In fact the two different stories didn’t feel like the same author.


The Book of You by Claire Kendal

24516182Goodreads Average Rating: 3.59 out of 5

Genre: Fiction, Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Suspense, Contemporary

Published:  1 January, 2015

This breathtaking story follows Clarissa as she becomes more paranoid that someone is stalking her. At the beginning of the story Clarissa is selected for jury duty and she can’t help but feel that it is a safe haven from her stalker. She becomes more unnerved though when she recognises parallels between her life the story of the trails victim.

The story is a great read and keeps you on your toes. It isn’t the type of book I would read alone in your house, or on the train at night. Through some part of the story it almost felt like I was Clarissa. I was pulled so far into her story that I felt like I was being stalked. (I didn’t become paranoid though.)

The story also holds romance and betrayal, as well as friendship and mystery. It is an overall great story line that brought me back to the world of mysteries.


I hope you all have had a chance to read these amazing novels. These are some of my favourites. They are all amazing in their own way.

Writing a Crime Novel Part 2 – Planning

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“There really must be a murder, or at least a major felony — otherwise, what’s the point? Who’s ripping off the hand towels at the Dorchester Hotel is hardly the business of a mystery novel.”
– Howard Haycraft

So far the ‘writing’ phase of writing a crime novel hasn’t even started. Normally I’m not a big planner so I generally start writing rather quickly. But I knew that crime novels took a lot of work. You have to plan everything. Every twist and turn, everything little thing needs to be accounted for. There wasn’t any jumping straight in with this story.

After planning out who my victims were, how they were killed, where they were dumped and why the killer chose them; I was happy. Same with planning my killer. I felt my reasoning and idea for the character were solid so I moved on.

The Main Character

“The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.”
– G. K. Chesterton

Opening up a new word document I knew it was time to decided who was going to be my Sherlock Homes, who was going to be my Olivia Benson. Who was going to be my kick ass lead crime fighting hero who would save the day? And it almost seemed simple.

Most of the time when I come up with a character, at first, they aren’t what you would call three dimensional. In fact they are always two dimensional. And generally I like to have my characters revealed themselves as I write. I like seeing them unfold on the page. So creating a character, from the get-go, and making them three dimensional certainty wasn’t simple. Breaking old habits is hard in any situation, but I find breaking writing habits is even more hard.

I managed to do what I needed to do though. Starting off with the basics: name, age, appearance, desire, and life. The character came to life. Then I went in with the more detailed questions. I find asking even the most unimportant things can reveal your character. Their favourite colour, for instant, could reflect a lot in their life, or even their most hated colour.

Questions

Instead of thinking all the questions to ask about my character, I find looking online for a character profile can be the easiest way. I like to find multiple character profiles and combine them so that my profile is even more detailed.

Likeability

One thing I really think about when it comes to my characters is whether or not they are likeable. Likeability isn’t always important but I think that when it comes to a crime novel there needs to be something that the reader will like about the good guy to keep them reading, or keep them cheering them on. So I tried to think of quirks and unique things about my character that would make readers think their interesting, or funny, or something – anything.

But one big thing is to not make them too likeable. After all you don’t like everything about everyone. There will be one or two things that drive you nuts about that person. So I made sure to add that in too.

Next…

I am hoping to do a little bit of writing next. I’m not ready to write the novel but I need to create my town. While I have chosen a location and it is a real town in the US, I want it to be interesting. I need to know how it feels to live in the town, what are the smells? I want to know what the people are like. I think, for me at least, writing will help me figure this out.


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Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Goodreads Average Rating: 4.18 out of 5

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Alternative Universe, Dystopia

 ‘The first time I traveled to another dimension, I intended to take a life. Now I’m trying to save one. But I can’t do that unless I save myself. At the moment, I’m running through the winding streets of a near-medieval Rome, trying not to get burned at the stake.’

– Ten Thousand Skies Above You, Claudia Gray – Chapter 1

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Ten Thousand Skies Above You is the second book in the Firebird series by Claudia Gray. The story follows Marguerite Caine as she uses a device, called the Firebird, created by her parents to travel between alternative universes.

The sequel picks up not long after the end of the first installment, and trouble is just over the horizon. Marguerite is on a mission to save the man she loves after his soul was broken and put into multiple versions of himself. To save the man she loves Marguerite is torn between saving the man she loves and possibly ruining the lives of her family in other dimensions.

Reading the sequel straight after the first novel is one of the best feelings a reader can have. You don’t spend ages wanting to read the next one but you are unable to do so. However, now I have to wait until November until the third installment is released. And another great thing is when the sequel doesn’t let down your expectations from the first one. The story plot was interesting and I was excited to what would happen next, this series – so far – is a page turner. The characters were great and it was good to see them grow and see them experience new challenges to overcome.

Claudia Gray has done a wonderful job of creating new and exciting worlds to visit in the story and the small changes she makes were surprising but good. Not once did I get bored of reading this wonderful story and I am extremely excited for the third book.

This is defiantly a series that many people will enjoy.


Other Books in the Firebird Series:
– A Thousand Pieces of You – Book 1
– A Million Worlds With You – Book 3 (releases on 1 November, 2016)