Category Archives: Writing Tip

How to Write Flash Fiction

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WHAT IS FLASH FICTION?

Flash fiction is a short-short story told in 2000 words or less. It is my current area of interest because I’m wanting to enter a few pieces in a flash fiction contest, the one I blogged about last week.

So here I sit asking myself where to begin, and my best bet is to learn a few things about what goes into writing a great piece of flash fiction.

At first thought, writer’s who are unfamiliar with these short shorts might think it seems like a fairly easy task to undertake. But considering the limited amount of space that you have to get your story to work its magic, I’m assuming it might actually be a bit more difficult than expected.

Creating just the right setting, only the necessary dialogue – in fact, the perfect dialogue, creating an atmosphere that begs to be explored further, all of this could be a bit of a struggle in the few words available within flash fiction.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

  • With short shorts you need to start in the action, so choose a flashpoint to begin your story.
  • Plot matters less than mood and the details of the telling.
  • What is left out is just as important as what’s included in the writing.
  • Pick one theme.
  • Pay close attention to language.
  • Opt for understated elegance.
  • Subtlety is key.

From the research I’ve done, it’s my understanding that you what to pick a portion of your scene and build on it, let the small focal point tell the story. Keep your readers engrossed with the story that scene tells with all its details and then hit them with an unexpected twist at the end, leaving them wanting more.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

  1. Be concise without strangling your plot and characters.
  2. Remember to deliver your message.  No one likes empty envelopes.
  3. Make your prose intense. You can’t burn the reader.
  4. Learn from the birds. Tweet, tweet, tweet(er).
  5. Use prompts to hone your skills.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO

  1. Don’t go in circles. You don’t have room for that.
  2. Don’t try to wear many hats. Flash has space only for one or two.
  3. Don’t mince words. You are writing a flash and not making hamburger patties.
  4. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You don’t want to repeat what others have written.
  5. Don’t forget that flash is a story and not a poem or essay.

Wish me luck! I would love to write piles and piles of flash fiction – tons of small stories sounds like a rewarding endeavor.

Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any more tips for me or for fellow readers.

5 Ideas That Will Motivate You to Write

If you’re a writer then you know what it is to have down times, times where you don’t produce any writing at all.

It could be any number of things that gains your attention and leaves the task of writing on the back-burner. Work, school, kids, depression or a frantic schedule can all take priority over your writing goals.

If you’re looking for ideas that will motivate you to get some writing accomplished immediately, then these tools might work for you.

The Usual Advice

I recently started a second job, full time, that seemed to eat up any spare time I had for writing. There were better things to do with my spare time like just unwind… zone out after a busy day. I lacked motivation because I was tired and my mind wasn’t into being creative.

I wasn’t meeting my goals with my writing and readers of my blog were starting to ask questions, wondering where I’d disappeared to. I stared at a blank screen more than once without a clue what to write about, and unable to muster my creativity.

Finally, I did what writers do and went in search of ideas on how to get motivated. All of the tools I came across seemed to be the same ones I’ve heard time and time again that just don’t seem to always work for me personally. But they deserve to be mentioned…

  1. Set aside a regular time to write.
  2. Find a good place to write and stick to it.
  3. Set a writing quota.
  4. Show up.
  5. Minimize distractions.
  6. It’s okay to write like crap.

Like I said, these are some great bits of advice, but not always enough to get most of us writing right now….

5 Tools to Get You Writing Now!

I find that keeping to the basics makes it easier to get back to writing right now, to bust through the writer’s block.

  1. Use what you know. For me, getting some words into my writing quota means looking into my thoughts and seeing what’s lingering there. What’s on my mind – take what’s on your mind and use it to your writing advantage. If your working on a book, you can write a single scene, even if it’s out of sync. If you’re posting to your blog, you can use what’s on your mind to develop some interesting content for your readers. Using what’s in the forefront of your thoughts brings more passion into your writing because it’s what’s most important to you right now.
  2. Research an idea. If nothing in your head appeals to your creativity or seems to be enough to spark the motivation to write, then try surfing the web for articles that interest you. The bonus involved is that you can take the time to visit your network and see what they’ve had to say lately. Chances are, what you read will get your creativity brewing.
  3. Brainstorm for ideas and structure. Once you’ve got a basic thought to drive you, start brainstorming that general theme and find your own fresh take on it. The conclusions you come to are the basis of content creation. If you don’t find the theme useful now, save what you write for a future date.
  4. Create an outline. Take the general themes or conclusions you’ve come to and get constructive by creating a few outlines. Even just a few bullet points that generalize your idea are enough to serve as motivators for writing. Just fill in the blanks.
  5. Stop what you’re doing and start writing. I find that 90% of the battle sometimes is just starting to type. I remind myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect and how good it always feels to get some writing done. So this is basically a repeat of the usual advice…show up. Sit down and just start, even if it’s just rambling at first until you find something worth writing about. Getting some words on paper will break the ice and works to get you back into a regular rhythm of writing.

Staying Motivated

Most importantly, when it comes to having accomplished a creative goal like writing, is to reward yourself. It doesn’t matter if you dislike what you produced of if the work was phenomenal, reward tricks your brain into creating a habit. So find a simple way to reward yourself for your efforts.

Unique Articles On Writing Motivation:


Image Copyright: Marcel De Grijs

 

 

Getting to the Business of Writing

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You should be creating  content on a weekly basis to keep your audience coming back to your platform, to keep your brand fresh in their minds.

Creating  Content

You should write daily in order to find your voice and improve your writing technique. You will be creating content for your blog and you should schedule that into your writing time. If you’re looking for ideas for what to write about, turn to what you know. If you’re a writer than chances are you’re learning new things every day, and not just things related to writing. What you are experiencing, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve heard are all great content inspirations. You have an endless amount of topics to choose from to meet your daily writing challenge.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block does not exist. You can write about anything, including your inability to write. Your failure to put words on paper stems from your expectation of what you may produce or the subject you want to write about. You should eliminate distractions so you can focus on your writing when the scheduled time arrives. Carve out a good time of day for the task and prepare your environment beforehand.

By writing every day, you exercise your ability. So when it comes time to write things like a scene for your book, it will flow almost effortlessly from you and you’ll experience no writer’s block at all.

Editorial Calendar

You want to take the time to step away from your writing but have a set schedule to get to the task of editing it. You have taken the challenge to write every day, regardless of what it sounds like so you should also be committing to a strict schedule to edit.

It won’t all sound amazing after you’ve taken the time to get a fresh perspective. But now with a fresh set of eyes, you can rework your words into usable content.

Writing Well Consistently

Once you make a habit of writing every day, the ideas just come. You get into a flow state where the words just come naturally. The more you write, the more you’ll have to say. If you make that commitment to show up then your writing will consistently improve. Eventually what you have to say will become more compelling and more persuasive.

It’s true that the writing will be difficult at first, but your commitment will pay off by bringing you the success in writing that you’re aiming for.

Give yourself the liberty to write like crap. Remember that writing is something you learn by doing.

Are You Really Your Own Worst Critic?

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What Do You Think of Your Writing?

If you’re a writer then you know that feeling, the one you have after you read and reread what you’ve created.

You struggle for some sort of self-validation.

You know it’s ridiculous to try, there’s no way you can see your own work through someone else’s eyes.

Will people like it?

A Peek Into Your Mind

Sitting at your keyboard your eyes trace over the familiar words that you’ve so painstakingly crafted. Either you think it’s brilliant or you’re unsure. If it sucks, you certainly wouldn’t leave it in that state. You read along, you think you’ve got it, it all sounds right in your head.

BING! BING! BING!

Check yourself, stop what you’re doing. It’s someone else’s turn to have a look. You know the truth here. You can’t be objective. You’re reading the story as it plays out in your mind and not by the words that you’ve written. Truth.

Why Your Friends and Family Can’t Be Trusted

You do the first thing you can and share what you’ve got with that one trusted friend or any family that you can muster.

  • The first thing to note, your family has been roped into this.
  • The second thing, their reading because they feel like they have to.
  • Thirdly, they love you and aren’t going to be objective either. If they are, your situation is extremely rare.
  • Your friend is your best friend for a reason, they’ll be more honest but most likely want to steer clear of crushing you. They know you love writing, it’s your passion. They’re not going to jeopardize that by telling you the absolute truth if it’s crap.

At least you know what your next move is. You’ve read up on the business of writing and you know that good writer’s get themselves a good group of beta-readers. So you go through the motions, sending them chapter by chapter. You’re getting their feedback and you’re thrilled that they like it. Sure it’s not perfect, there are some areas that need perfecting, but of course there are, you expected that right? Yes, you did. Now you’re golden! Nope, think again.

What Aren’t Your Beta Readers Saying to You

What are your beta reader’s not telling you? Not every person who writes or reads is trained in the art of constructive criticism. And even if they are, do you think they want to hurt your feelings. It’s widely known that so many writers absolutely cannot take any form of rejection. It’s true, most writer’s cringe, denying their bad reviews, explaining them away. But not before taking it personally.

Is there some chance that you’re not getting the feedback you need? Great, just what you didn’t want to hear, right?

Before you dive into the world of beta-reading and build up your team, think of what your needing from them. We all ask for their honest opinion but are we prepared for the feedback.

  • Are they trained in constructive criticism?
  • Do they write in your genre?
  • Are they someone who’s writing you respect?
  • Do you trust them to tell you the truth?

Will you get upset if they tell you something you don’t want to hear? They think you will. It might be that they aren’t skilled at constructive criticism. They might shy away from stating what’s obvious to them that you somehow missed.

Why the hell are we so delicate you might ask? Because we’ve toiled away, bleeding our hearts out and it all sounded great in our minds while we were at it. We’ve spent hours and hours in the editing chair. We did our very best, followed all the rules we read in Stephen King’s book on writing. We put up the hefty fee to have our work edited by a professional even, and we made the necessary changes. See… we corrected the spots where we screwed up. But is there still something more that’s being overlooked here?

What You Can Do

While it’s true that there will always be a percentage of people that your writing just doesn’t resonate with. And there will always be the haters or the people that think they are better than you. There will always be a someone that rejects your style of writing. But, is there a message you’re missing, or something that’s been left unsaid entirely.

Take the time to make a list of what you expect from your beta-readers. Make sure the people that are reading for you are qualified to give you the feedback you’re looking for. If you just want to see if they like it, you can ask just about anyone to read for you. But if you want to grow as a writer and improve your craft, you’ll look for just the right fit. You’ll beg them to shred your work, demand that they hold nothing back. And the best part, you’ll love every ounce of criticism. It’s golden.

 

How to Achieve Success as a Writer

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If you’re a writer then you know all too well, the struggle to achieve success. Whether you write copy, content, author non-fiction or fiction books, or aspire to become a successful writer, you are looking for the best method to accomplish your goal. You should know that your dream is not beyond your reach….

Continue Reading: How to Achieve Success as a Writer