8 Quick Tips For Great Short Stories | Writamins: Vitamin S |

8 Short Story Quick Tips
8 Short Story Quick Tips to get you writing great new material!

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! Continue reading

Short Story: Verser

Welcome back, my inklings!  Here is the science fiction adventure tale “Verser” which won first place in the Constellation 6 writing contest at the beginning of May.  I hope you enjoy it!

“Verser”
by Robert JV Christensen

Hail’s heart was pounding as he sprinted through the smoldering city streets while fire-arcs, like bolts of lightning, cascaded down around him slashing deep wounds into the ancient steel skyscrapers.  He held a toddler, in his arms as he ran, sheltering him as best as he could.
“Hold on, Harp,” Hail said to him.  The boy, shaking with fear, could only cry.  He winced and shrieked as a loud crash let Hail know that another building was coming down nearby.
Holding Harp tightly, Hail leapt from where he stood up a few stories to the roof of a nearby parking garage.  Casting a hasty glance up at the sky, he saw the sun eclipsed by an enormous flying metal structure.  It was the Iron Fortress of Ageless.
Hail and Ageless were Versers.  Once, there weren’t any Versers.  Life was better then.
The Iron Fortress cast another deadly strike of flame down upon the city and Hail frantically looked for a path of escape. Continue reading

Blue Ribbon Octopus

Boy do I have news for you, my inklings.

All I can say is wow.  I just got home last night from an impromptu trip to Lincoln, NE to the fabulous Constellation VI sci-fi convention.  Hosted by the charming and hilarious toastmistress Sabrina Sumsion.  If you are in the area come check it out, the people are fantastic and there’s a wonderful atmosphere of fun and community permeating the event.  “But why,” you might ask, “was the octopus at a sci-fi convention?”

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Fighting with a Project? Don’t Give Up!

OctoFugitive

I’ll be absolutely honest.  I’ve been having a difficult time with my time travel piece.  It’s in part because I haven’t made the time to sit down with it, and also because the rest of my life has been running me down like I’m a tunnel digging prison escapee.

At the moment I’m hiding in a metaphorical ditch while life shines its spotlights across the marsh from only a few feet away.  The slightest breath and I might have to go be an adult and do life things.  So let’s make the most of this time together before life finds me and throws me back in the clink.
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Why I Avoid Time Travel Stories and Why We Should All Try Writing One

When I told my wife I was going to do a writing prompt for the blog about time travel her response was less than enthusiastic.  She’s not a fan of time travel stories, and neither am I and for a lot of the same reasons.  She explained to me that she didn’t think she could be much help in reviewing whatever story I came up with from the prompt because of her feelings about time travel stories in general.  The word hate came up.  Several times. Continue reading

The Octopus Garden: Your Creative Zone

Good Friday to you, my Inklings, thank you for stopping by.  Now, you may have guessed from the tentacles on my banner and the fact that I call myself “The Octopus” that I take a great deal of inspiration from nature.  In particular, I view the octopus as a marvelous mascot for wordsmiths everywhere and not just because they can squirt ink (but that’s totally part of it).

Octopuses (that’s right, the preferred plural is octopuses!  Not octopi, octopodes, or even octopeople) like to collect things.  They’ve been seen piling stones into protective fences before they go to sleep and amassing all sorts of crustacean shells and coral bits and anything they find interesting or useful.  Some researchers have called this collecting and arranging behavior “fortress building”.  Others, due to the eclectic nature of the collections, call these mysterious museums “octopus gardens”.

Now, as writers, we really shouldn’t surround our workspace with the discarded remnants of our food (white cheddar cheetos bags go in the trash!) so a literal application of this habit may be less than helpful.  However, I have noticed that I have more than a few near-requirements and writing rituals that serve as my own octopus’ garden.  Continue reading

8 Ways of Grabbing Your Reader from the First Sentence, Pt. 3 of 3

In which the Octopus provides tips 6 through 8 and a concluding statement.

Our final installment will feature the last three ways of grabbing your reader from the first sentence.  Of course there are probably many more in the world worth using but I sincerely hope that these articles have given you some new tools to try when starting a new project.  Without further ado, my inklings, I give you the last of our list.
6.  Blunt Force Introduction:

“The Landon sisters looked as stately as ever in their matching coffins.”

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8 Ways of Grabbing Your Reader from the First Sentence, Pt. 2 of 3

In which the Octopus offers Tips 3 through 5

Welcome back, my inklings.  On March 26th, we started a discussion about how to grab your reader from the first sentence of your story.  Today we’ll continue with a few more methods designed to intrigue and excite your reader.

Note: If not otherwise attributed, any example “first sentence” is my own creation provided only to prove concept.  I may eventually revisit these sample first sentences and turn them into full stories.

3. The Contradiction:

“It was only after my grandfather died that he really began to talk to me.”

Often a contradictory statement, the reader is propositioned with an intriguing juxtaposition of concepts that they can only make sense of if they keep reading.  Continue reading