Change is … Refreshing

It matters not whether it’s an outfit, a job, a car, the look of a room, the layout of your desk, or the way that you do something – it sometimes gives the spirits a lift to create change.

As a writer it helps to have more than one project on the go, moving from one to another as and when the mood takes you, or when ‘resting’ a story between drafts.

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What are we doing when we change something?

We are refreshing. I recently set up a new item on my blog menu to give some basic guidance on the writing of short stories. I said within those guidelines that I’d follow up with a piece on writing short stories for competitions. That is now done and appears in my menu under the Competition Writing heading.

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What was that about change and refreshing in the intro?

When I started creative writing it was poetry, and then I tried short stories. The poetry was left behind as the whole concept of short story writing captured my imagination. It took a couple of years before I dared to consider a novel, but once I’d dipped my toe in the water – I was smitten. That particular change has proved worthwhile and fulfilling.

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What is the relevance of my personal writing progression to this post?

In recent weeks, apart from my other projects I’ve produced two short stories for anthologies. The incentive for writing the stories was that the proceeds of sales of the anthologies will be forwarded to charities. I will return to the subject of the anthologies to talk about them and promote them closer to their publication.

A lot of people are excited about the cover and title of one of the two charity anthologies, and quite rightly – because both are excellent. Over the next few days I’m pretty sure there will be many who ‘share’ the cover and promote the collection before its publication. I’ll leave that to them for now, and I’ll get underway with a similar strategy a day or two before the publication date.

By far my favourite Facebook group is the Indie Author Review Exchange, founded by fellow author, blogger and friend, Paul Ruddock. It is from that group, now numbering 570+ after only a few months, that an open request was made for authors to take part in the two charity anthologies.

I noted that not only were there authors who hadn’t written short stories for a while – it became clear that there were those who had never ventured into the challenges of writing short stories.

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Why is it a good idea to try writing short stories?

The short story is a separate discipline to that of novel writing, or even novella writing. A short story requires tighter word usage, fewer characters, a tight timeline and a single unwavering plot which starts with a personal conflict of some description.

There is no allowance for a cast of thousands, or lengthy and flowery descriptions of imagery. The dialogue should move the story forward as rapidly as the action. The character in crisis should be the one who plays the major part in how the original conflict plays out.

In my own humble opinion I believe that even the occasional short story helps the novelist to tone-up, refresh, and reassess where they are with their writing craft. I am presently working on three completely different longer pieces at the moment, but taking a break to produce two short stories was a breath of fresh air, which I am sure has affected how I am now approaching my novels.

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Are there any other reasons for writing short stories?

It may not be obvious to all writers, but there is money to be made and prizes to be won with short stories. Yes, they have to be of a high standard, and yes they will require to follow certain guidelines, but isn’t that true of any competition. If you’ve never considered the short story competition market and you’d like an insight, please check out – Competition Writing.

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What am I working on in novels?

In terms of priority my front runner is Acts of Vengeance, which is the sequel to Beyond The Law. Rapidly following that one is A Life of Choice, which is a fact-based fiction, coming-of-age story. The latest contender for my literary affections is Give and Take. I am intending it to be a full length erotic novel, so the story is very much an experiment. If you’ll pardon the pun, the secondary reason for writing such a story is to provide relief when not working on the other stories. Give and Take – Chapter 1.

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What else have I changed recently?

Whilst working on my two short stories for the anthologies, something came to mind. I went to my blog to check it out, and I was surprised by how many main subject headings I had on my main menu.

When I was leaving my writing aside for a break, I spent about half an hour refreshing my menu and selecting items that could be stepped down to sub-menu level.

You will see that my tips for writing short stories are all under one main heading. My short story anthologies are under a single heading. My four published novels are under one heading, and one that I’m particularly pleased about is, placing Work in Progress under one heading.

In one session I believe I have: improved the appearance of the main menu, made it easier to navigate, and made it more manageable for me as the main user. I look forward to any thoughts on the topics I’ve covered in this post.

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16 comments on “Change is … Refreshing

  1. You’re busy as ever! Personally, once I’m embarked on a project, it is to the exclusion of all else. In my ‘refreshment breaks’, I read. And read. I also journal, by hand, reflecting on life rather than fiction. If other ideas come along, I make notes – many, many notes – which I then mine for a new project once one is finished.

    Good luck with your endeavours.

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    • Hello my friend and thank you for the visit. I did try the targeted approach once. When I wrote ‘A Taste of Honey’ it was all I wrote from start to finish, and that was the experiment at the time. It worked.
      I like your method of working too, and the key of course is that it works for you, and I know it does.
      I go nowhere without a notebook and pen – even shopping, just in case …
      I’ll get over your way soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are obviously a very disciplined and organised writer.I, too, started with poetry, have written several short stories and now have two novels in progress and one almost ready to publish. I’m taking my time. Short stories often leave me unsatisfied, even if people follow the ‘rules’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Barbara and thank you for dropping by. It’s nice to see another author who has attempted a variety of writing. I enjoy writing short stories and reading them, but I’d have to agree with you up to a point – sometimes I’m left wondering if the writer knew what the exercise was intended to produce, but then I’ve read novels like that too.:)
      I’m now following by the way, and I’ll make time to get over and check out your musings.
      Where do you live in Germany?

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  3. I find it very nice to dip and swap between projects, and change things up a little. I am am trying to write in more formats, although I never have managed to try poetry yet.

    I look forward to seeing the anthologies when they come out, and I suspect I’ll probably pick a copy up for myself. I love anthologies, especially when they are for a good cause.

    It’s nice to see you’re doing well in your work, and you’ve got so much going on at the moment. Well done on keeping it all going!

    I have to admit, the biggest change happening in my life right now isn’t to do with writing at all! I’m getting a new car, since my fifteen year old one is pretty much on its last legs.

    Nice to read your blog as always my friend, glad to see everything is going well for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi PoD and it’s great to see you here as always. I started my serious writing only after dabbling in poetry (if you can call 700+ dabbling), but I still sometimes use verse to get my head around an idea for a story.
      Up in my menu somewhere there is a heading for Poetry to Story which explains it.
      Congrats on the new wheels – and it’s nice to see you being good to yourself.
      I’ll get over your way again soon to see your thoughts and all your little fire-breathing friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I admire you for being able to work on multiple projects simultaneously. I can’t do that. Short stories are another daunting enterprise for me, although I do agree with you entirely. Short stories can and will improve a writer’s skill. Maybe at some time in the future… An excellent post, as usual 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Ramona. Thank you for the visit. There are plenty of tips around and a lot of ideas, so you do realise I’ll be expecting to see a short story from you soon.
    I’m keeping an eye on your daily digest – good work.

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    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jilbab and thank you for dropping in. Thank you also for subscribing to my blog – please feel welcome to look in all the corners and ask questions or comment as you see fit.
      I’ll be doing a blog patrol over the coming weekend so I should see you then. 😀

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