I saw this anthology on Netgalley and hello…dragons…so I was all in! The release date on this book is July 7th 2020. As I read this book, I thought a lot about what I like and don’t like about short stories. This book contained a few that I didn’t care for and several that I loved. All were well written of course, but some stood out above the others. So I analyzed them and came up with 5 things I believe make a good short story. I’m sure these are not all the qualities of a good story though. You might like short stories for another reason. If so, let me know!
How do you begin a story? Not in the sense of create, but where do you start? I was always told to start in Media Res. Latin for in the middle of things. There are countless ways to start a story. I'm going to talk about a few ways to start, but this is by all means not exhaustive. When I'm wanting to strengthen a skill, I look to mentor texts. So let us take a look at some excellent stories and see how they begin.
I saw that an Instagram friend of mine was doing a 90 Days to Your Novel challenge thing, based on this book. I was intrigued. I mean, who wouldn't want to write a whole novel in 90 days? Can you really do that? Would it be any good? I know there are indie authors out there that crank out 4-5 novels a year. Something I've learned in the last year is that consistency and frequency really help when it comes to growing a following. For example, I started this blog in August 2016. Then, I decided to start grad school to become a librarian. So, from June 2017-Aug 2019 while I was in school and working full time as a teacher, I posted infrequently. Since August, I have (for the most part) posted every Friday. The number of followers since then has nearly doubled and views on the website are way up. I expect by the end of 2020 the views will more than double from last year. BUT that is not nearly important to me as quality content. I try to be consistent. But sometimes I've got stuff going on in my life (my MIL and my Stepdad passed away in the last 9 months) that prevent me from writing quality content for you, so I skip a week or two. Maybe that hurts the SEO, but I refuse to put junk out there attached to my name.
I’m almost at a loss for words right now. For the last few days/weeks/months all my time after work has been on this project. One of the major things I set up was a Writer’s Resources Vault for people who get the book and sign up for the blog with their email address, they can access a vault full of resources I mentioned in the book. Such as these documents that I’ve created…
Today is the day! You get to see the cover of my new book! I can't wait any longer, so here it is!
I read the Save the Cat! Writes a Novel book a few years ago. I liked it because it approached story in a very logical way, which appeals to me as an outliner. It works like The Hero's Journey and many others--it takes the major story twists and turns and lays them out in a flexible pattern. You do not want to use this as a formula, or your story will become stilted. Many people argue against using "formulas" such as these but these guides are merely a tool and any tool used incorrectly can be bad. Used correctly this book can be very helpful, especially for new writers. When I first started writing short stories I used a tool like this to guide my plot and keep the story tight. After a few dozen stories, it became ingrained in me and I don't need to use that guide as much.
Sarah Rhea Werner released a podcast about her creative process. That is something I've touched on but not completely, so I thought I'd share my process to see if perhaps this might help you discover a process that can help you.
So this month seems to be all about videos! I made a book trailer for this book. I found this book a delightful mix of childish fun and serious courage. The story was paced well. I read it in only a few days. The characters were interesting and relatable. The plot unexpected but not in a bad way. As an avid reader, I tend to be good at predicting where the story is headed. It did not always go where I expected, which is rather refreshing. (More on this below the spoiler image)
I've been listening to some podcasts more lately as I work. I thought I had done a podcast roundup before on this website, but all I found was a narrator roundup. I've talked about some of these creators before so they might sound familiar to you. Without further adieu... here are some of my favorite podcast in their different categories.
"I imagined the broken rocks as the broken bodies of my enemies, the bones shattered, their trembling arms reaching upward in a useless gesture of total and complete defeat. I was a very odd little girl."