The Art of the Short Story

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*enters dramatically wearing a fancy red cape and mysteriously drinking tea*

Welcome, friends! This is a post in which I shall unleash the fury of…

THE SHORT STORY.

Boom_Baby(oh, and also The Emperor’s New Groove gifs, deal with it.)

Perhaps you’ve heard of it, hmm? Of course you have; you’ve probably read a plethora of them too. Well, I had never tried writing one until a few months ago. So let me tell you all about it.

I’ve been writing for about four or five-ish years and have always written in the glory of third person. I’d never thought about trying out a new perspective and was perfectly happy in my “he, she, it” world.

But then came The Specter’s Play…

BAM

First-person hit me in the face like a one-winged carrier pigeon. For reals. I had never even touched first person before and didn’t know how to handle it.

BUT LET ME SAY THIS:

I am still a huge believer in third person and strongly think that first person isn’t right for most books. I really, really do. Some character voices don’t need to be in first person, some settings and scenes are better viewed through the lenses of a more general camera. I get and respect that fact. In all honesty, I prefer third person.

But The Specter’s Play (and, for those of you who haven’t heard my ranting and raving, that is my novel that I’m currently working on) was different. It had a new kind of feeling.

A first-person feeling.

“But Wendy!” You say, interrupting my monologue, “This post is about short stories, not first-person angst!”

And you would be absolutely right.

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Since I had never written in first-person, I was at a panicky kind of loss. And National Novel Writing Month was fast approaching. I didn’t want to go into a 2,000 word-a-day schedule continually writing junk and completely butchering my very first draft of my beloved novel.

So, I wrote a short story.

In first person.

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It was around 450 words, so it wasn’t a huge task. But it did absolute wonders for my writing. Not just for The Specter’s Play, but for a lot of my writing in general. I could explore a new area of writing without so much risk of ruining something big and wouldn’t take up a ton of time.

Later, I was having a problem with world building (I should mention, I have about four entire worlds in The Specter’s Play and had never really world-built before). So I wrote a story set on an entirely different planet with a culture that had a lot of “customs” that the people had to follow.

It doesn’t matter if you finish your story, if it’s complete garbage plot-wise, or whatever. As long as you learned something.

Take an aspect of your writing that you think needs improvement and let it fly, unashamedly, onto a single page or so.

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*whispers* It’s also a marvelous way to get rid of all those plot bunnies!

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

~Erin Morgenstern

Happy writing!

Tell me your story! What have you done to improve certain areas of your writing?

 

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