Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Making Ourselves Better Writers

Charity over at My Writing Journey had a fantastic post on Wednesday on tops to improve your writing in a post-NaNo life. She recommended using short story writing as a way to hone one's skills to become better a novelist.

It got me to thinking about my own writing and my inability to pack a story into fewer than 50K. Short stories have never come easily to me. I think it terms of macro plots with never ending twists and turns. Nothing in my brain is ever compact enough to fit into the short story model. Just ask my fiction instructor from last semester. My second story came back with a note to the effect of: "This is great. Too bad it's a novel in a short story's body."

Well, if nothing else, I have another novel idea on deck if I need it.

Anyway, I think I'm going to try my hand at short fiction again. We'll see how it goes.

What do you do to try and make yourself a better writer?

Then again, Charity's post got me thinking about a few other things, too. But you'll have to wait to find out what that's all about.

Tune in Monday for a Special Announcement :)


Claudia Del Balso said...

Hi Rosie,
This is true. I've always love short stories, and that's my field of expertise. I'm still mastering this craft since I don't consider myself an expert. But in order to hone this skill, I take writing workshops and I ask my friends in my writing group to critique it (and this has worked best for me). We meet once or twice a month and we share/read each other's work and then go over it together. I've developed an editing eye and in turn, get better at writing ;)

Claudia Del Balso said...

Oopsie! typo: *I've always loved*
darn fingers type faster than my brain can think LOL!!!

Heidi said...

I'm exactly the same as you - I'm terrible at short stories. I think it's an excellent skill to be able to use every word and develop the story in such a short time, but I'm not there yet. (However, I think I'll start working on that skill, now.) :)

Charity Bradford said...

Rosie, I finally linked. :D I can't wait until Monday!

RaShelle said...

Hey Rosie - I've never been one for short stories. Well, I say that, but I've really never tried. What the heck, I'll give it a go. Thanks! =D

Vatche said...

What do I try to do to make myself a better writer? Hmm. Read and write as much as I can work into my schedule. I think practice makes perfect. And of course, not only reading fiction books but also things that can help my writing too. Always trying to improve, that's what I do to make myself a better writer!

Jemi Fraser said...

I've never really tried short stories - probably because I don't usually read them either. I prefer to really get to know the characters - both when I'm reading and writing. :)

Anonymous said...

I've never been a short story writer. I tried and failed. My mind is on novels and the huge trajectory of major and minor characters, plots and subplots.

Carol Riggs said...

Haha--a novel in a short story's body. That's hilarious! (Ok, so it probably wasn't to you, at the time). ;o) Yeah, I've done a few shorter stories but not many. Mostly in college. I like the novel, to spread myself out more and do those twists and turns you talked about. It's just "me" and my style of writing, and I'm content with that. However, perhaps writing short stories could hone some other skills, like using words more succinctly or learning how to plot tighter. I'm not too worried.

Kelly said...

I've written short stories for children's magazines, but it's hard to keep to the smaller word count!But then again, I'm trying writing picture books and those are only 500-800 words!

Katie Gates said...

I've never enjoyed reading short stories, so it would be difficult for me to follow that prescription. For me, it's about writing the piece you want to read. This is especially helpful with something that is as long as a novel. I can honestly say that "The Somebody Who" is the best novel I've ever read 40 times! Good thing I like it; otherwise, the editing/revision process would have been hell! Aside from that, I firmly believe that every sentence written puts a writer on her/his way to becoming better. Practice may not make perfect, but it heads us in that direction.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've shied away from writing short stories for years. I wrote my first one this fall, and am still waiting to hear if it will be accepted (decision in March). The second one I wrote last month, and it got accepted! It will be in 100 Stories for Queensland coming out 03/08.

I've learned to break out of my self-imposed writing mold.

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