There’s a quote from the ubiquitous Anon … If you think something small cannot make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room. That’s how I feel about the process of writing small stories – just in a more positive way than that single mozzie! Small, but with impact.
Short children’s stories are not easy to write (what story is?) but they do have a load of benefits…
- providing much needed respite from the long, large, difficult Young Adult manuscript hanging over my head – it helps to keep me sane
- can be written in a short time (i.e. in comparison to above YA ms)
- you can nut out the plot fairly quickly … straight through without sub-plots, sub-character developments, scene descriptions and settings. Not that you don’t need an appealing main character, a large problem he/she has to solve, and someone or something standing in the way!
- the words fly off the end of your fingers as they type the ‘video’ playing in your brain
- and it’s nice to have a smile on the dial while you work, instead of a frown of concentration.
Some tips I use:
- Have a strong picture of your character in your head.
- Know and feel what your character most desires.
- Know and feel the impact of what threatens your character and his/her desires.
Setting is important – done subtly as the plot unfolds. Characters are essential – even the sub-characters … do it through dialogue.
What to write about? This (for me) is the hardest thing – so sometimes I try a little trick to get the creative brain working. Pick out three words from the dictionary, where ever your finger falls. Use these words to come up with a viable story idea. Not all stories work, but every now and then the possibilities tumble from your head. And before you know it, a story is born.
That’s what happened with a small story I wrote called PRINCESS CLOWN (1200 words). It was a bigger challenge because I only allowed myself two random words, but it worked!
Probably the best thing about a small story is you can write and submit any number of submissions that can do the rounds at the same time – a pleasant experience for me – usually my stories are from 35,000 to 60,000 words and while I love the process, they take a loonnnggg time to write.
Do you have a special thing you do to make short stories?
Sharing of ideas is welcome in this neck of the woods!!! 🙂