Saturday, February 7, 2015

[Link] Learn Your Voice. Writing 101. The Short Story

by Lisa M. Collins

“Short stories help you learn your craft.” – George R.R. Martin

These days writers think they need to start with a novel length work, or even design a series. I call it the gospel according to Well if you are an up-and-coming writer, I want you to take a moment. Yes I know you are in an all fired hurry to get out there. You must be the next Stephenie Meyer or J. K. Rowling, but bare with me for a second.

Have you ever written a short story? Have you ever taken a short story and made it better than your original? If not, I want you try. Not because umteen million writers like Gaiman, Poe, Bradbury, or Welty will tell you to start with shorter works, but because you owe it to yourself. Your readers deserve to be enchanted by a true wordsmith.

A friend and fellow writer once told me that they need at minimum 5,000 words to just get started. I thought if it takes that long to set the bait then the reader will have already swam past. You see my friend had never written a complete short story. Her writing suffered for it.

“Short stories consume you faster. They’re connected to brevity. 
With the short story, you are up against mortality. I know how 
tough they are as a form, but they’re also a total joy.” – Ali Smith

 The reason most new writers back away from short form literature is because it is hard to do right. It all comes down to brevity, as Ali Smith said. Taking that a bit further, we all know King’s famous ‘kill your darlings’ quote, and you have to be willing to bleed. Non-writers say that is a dumb way of looking at things, and a bit morbid to boot. They are so wrong.

Read the full article: