Short stories are hot. If you’re not writing them — start today. You can turn a few hours into Kindle cash. Let’s look at how you can make fast fiction a part of your writing life.
My students tell me that they start short stories and/ or novels, and then those stories fizzle. Partly this comes from a lack of story tools. You learn to write fiction by writing lots of fiction. You’ll write crap; that’s a given — and it’s nothing to be concerned about. Create lots of dirt, and you’ll find a few diamonds.
Here’s the solution to your fiction woes: start more stories
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New authors tend to sit on their ideas like hens on a nest. It’s as if they believe that developing stories is hard. Developing stories is the easiest thing in the world. You need to convince yourself that not only can you start stories easily, but also that you can do it in less than 30 minutes, as often as you like.
Some of those stories will be good. Not only will you have fun writing short stories — your readers will love them.
Tip: if you have fun writing, readers will have fun reading. So make FUN a part of your writing life. It’s the key to creativity.
Try this Story Starter exercise. It takes just 30 minutes, and you’ll soon develop some wonderful stories.
1. Set a time for five minutes.
I love timers. I use Repeat Timer Pro, but any timer will do. You’ve got one on your phone. Use it.
2. Write a list of sentences.
Write as many sentences as you can in your five minutes. Don’t think — write!
3. Choose one sentence.
When the timer sounds, read your list of sentences, and choose one. Again — don’t think. It doesn’t matter which you choose. TRUST yourself to choose the right one. I wish I could convince you to trust yourself easily, but it’s something you’ll learn to do, the more often you take a leap of faith.
4. Now set your timer again: for 25 minutes.
You’ve chosen your sentence. Set your timer.
5. Close your eyes for a minute or two. Can you see an image?
Close your eyes and relax. Take several long, slow, and deep breaths.
Let your body go limp.
Wait for an image to appear in your mind’s eye.
Sometimes an image will appear; often it won’t.
6. Whether you can see an image or not, start the timer again.
Whether you receive a mental image, or not, start your timer.
7. Write for 25 minutes. Don’t take your fingers from the keyboard.
Rewrite your original sentence, and then keep writing. Accept whatever comes.
Don’t get picky. Write whatever’s in your mind. Kick your inner editor out of the way, and write.
8. You’re done. You’re writing. Keep going…
When your timer sounds you can keep writing, or not. Your choice.
Did your story starter spark your inspiration? If it did, keep writing. Or put your story away so you can write more tomorrow.
If your reaction is neutral, or you actively hate what you’ve written, delete the file.
There’s always more where that came from.
When you’re writing fast fiction, your inspiration carries you
I love writing short stories, because they’re so much fun to write. An original burst of inspiration carries you through the entire story. Students tell me that this simple Story Starter exercise helps them to write more stories, and to have fun doing it.
Two tips to make story-starters part of your fiction toolbox
1. Now you’re warmed up, start another story
You can use the Story Starter exercise to write as many short stories and novels as you want to write. If your reaction to one of your exercise is “meh…” toss it out, and do the exercise again.
2. Do the Story Starter exercise once a week
Make the Story Starter exercise a part of your fiction toolbox.
Here’s why it’s valuable. It teaches you that you can sit down, without an idea in your head, and spin unlimited stories.
Have fun with it. 🙂
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