Welcome, my inklings, to Writamins! Writing Vitamins or “Writamins” is my new article series designed to get you pumped, get you thinking about your craft and get you writing with my very own brand of condensed writing nutrition.
If you’re like me you have a million ideas for books with new ones popping up almost daily, but how do you narrow them down? It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to write an entire book, so how can you know that your concept and characters are going to excite people and really connect with your readers? Take some Vitamin S, of course!
Vitamin S: Short Stories:
Try writing a complete short story (1,000 to 10,000 words in length) featuring your characters, the setting and the general vibe you would go for with a book.
Share it with someone you can trust who you know will be honest with you. It’s very useful if they are already fans of the genre that you’re writing for, since that means they are also a sampling of your target audience. Writing a short story now and getting it critiqued will show you what your book needs in order to be the very best, like no book ever was, before you’ve put down the requisite 90,000 words for the full length novel.
Now for the active ingredients of Vitamin S.
8 Quick Tips For Great Short Stories
1. You don’t have to name or over describe any nonessential characters. This maintains your story’s focus.
2. Introduce your main characters early. This guides your readers’ attention to the right people.
3. Accompany introductions of plot essential characters with dialogue or actions that show us something important about them. “Show/Don’t Tell” works because it helps readers form their own opinions about characters by judging their actions for themselves.
4. Know what your characters are like at the start of the story and what they are like at the end, the story itself shows the progress between these points.
5. Close every other door in front of your characters. You have to make sure there are no easy solutions to your characters’ problems that you didn’t notice. Clever readers will make your climax look unnecessary and they will assume your characters weren’t very smart. Beta readers are fantastic for finding these for you!
6. Every compelling story needs a conflict that comes to a head near the end; so make sure your characters’ goals are clear to the reader so they will know when to get excited and when to celebrate.
7. Make it clear what the stakes are for failure, this adds tension.
8. Try not to be too overt, unless that’s the point. Your readers are smart and will pick up on things you hint at.
Now pick a story idea that’s been floating around in your head and attack it like an unsuspecting clam! You’ll be much better prepared to tackle a novel based on the setting and characters after you’ve taken your Vitamin S.
Now prepare your creative space, build your writing fort, and write like you know your dreams can come true! Let me know what you come up with, my inklings, and until next time, stay creative!
Robert JV Christensen