Has Covid-19 Changed Your Writing?

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Several writer friends have decided to compile a short story anthology to be published in the fall of this year.

With the only real guideline being a word count of between 1200-1500 words, submissions have been streaming in.

Although they represent many genres, it is clear that the coronavirus has been on a lot of minds. Approximately one-fourth of the stories entered so far were influenced in some way by the virus.

Unique struggles in romances.

Changes in family dynamics. 

Strains on finances.

Health issues.

The list goes on and on because a pandemic affects every aspect of our lives.

One of my own four short stories was directly impacted by Covid-19.

What about your writing? Has it been influenced by the coronavirus?

Flourish

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Several years ago, driving back home from visiting relatives in Las Vegas, I pulled out a yellow legal pad and began writing as my husband drove us back to Phoenix.

The next day, I sat down at the computer, pulled up a blank document, and typed in all six thousand words. I intended to get back to the story someday, but needed to focus on my work already in progress.

I didn’t give the story another thought until…

Fast forward to this morning.

Looking for something previously written to possibly rewrite into a short story for an anthology, I remembered the long-forgotten document.

And, now I sit here, crying my eyes out as I read the emotional story. 

Will I use it for the short story project?

Probably not. 

I now realize it has the potential for becoming “the book I always wanted to write.”

So, here is my point: Don’t throw out anything. I mean anything. Keep a file of stories… paragraphs…even sentences that you like. You never know when you’ll need them or when a situation will arise where you can use them.

Let yourself be inspired by your own writing. Be wowed by your own skill. 

Just as plants germinate, so does the written word…

Looking for that perfect day to push through fertile soil and flourish!

Writing Reviews

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I am part of a writing group that is currently compiling an anthology of short stories. 

Never having written one before, I thought it would be a difficult task since the word count is so low. 

How would I ever tell a complete story in such a few words?

However, it turned out to be fairly easy and this is why I believe it was the case:

I read A LOT and, as an author, I know the importance of book reviews. So, I faithfully write a one for each book I read. 

Writing book and/or product reviews can be an effective way to help authors, sellers and fellow consumers. It’s also an excellent way to hone our own writing skills.

Even though our first objective in writing reviews is to help others, I recently realized how much practice it is giving me as an author.

When there is a word limit, I must write concisely and offer examples—all within the confines of a text box.

I am challenged to use humor, creative skills, and colorful vocabulary.

Every word must have a purpose. And, collectively, they must draw interest. 

Do you write book and/or product reviews? Do you feel it has helped you sharpen your writing skills?

Write on Christmas Day

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For those of you who feel strongly that you should write every day of the year, may I suggest the following alternatives on Christmas Day?

  • Don’t just sign your name on Christmas cards. Instead, write a newsletter including highlights from the past year, or consider at least writing a short, personalized paragraph at the bottom of each card.
  • Write a blog post.
  • Write a letter or email to someone you have lost contact with over the years.
  • Write affirmations to be share around the dinner table on Christmas Day.
  • Take a small gift to your neighbors and include a short note.
  • Practice your skills by writing a short story about an especially  meaningful Christmas in the past, someone who has been instrumental in your life this year, or plans for the year ahead.
  • Write a love letter to that special someone in your life.
  • Write out some of your favorite recipes, tie them with ribbon, and give them as a gift, door prize, or …

You get the idea. There are many alternatives to actually working on your book on Christmas Day, so use your writing to connect with those you love.

Merry Christmas to each of you. May the New Year be filled with endless possibilities…

 

Journey Ended

 

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Today is the Grand Finale of our Journey Through the Genres. The last five genres to peruse are:

Historical: This genre offers readers events and fictional characters that occur within a historical setting. Some authors even include real people that interact with the fictional characters.  

Humor: This genre’s goal is entertainment. However, it should also convey an underlying concept.

Realism: These stories are true to life or sometimes may simply be “inspired” by real events. (Example: The TV series Law and Order.)

Short Stories: This type of story may fit into any number of genres, but is so short that there is only one plot—no sub-plots. 

Westerns: These stories take place in the Old West, usually in the late 1800s or early 1900s. They may include the other genres of romance, suspense, and/or realism.

So, that’s it. We’ve covered quite a bit these past five or six weeks. It is always good to refresh our memories as to what genres are available to us. Why not try writing a scene in several different genres? It may not only be fun, but you may be inspired to see what writing a longer version might lead to…

Flash Fiction

 

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There are many different types of creative writing. 

Let’s look at a relatively new idea called Flash Fiction.  As its name implies, it refers to a very short story ranging in length from 300 words to 1,000 words.

Even though extremely brief, Flash fiction still offers character and plot development. Requirements? It must have a beginning, middle, and an end. (We’ll take a look at this in my next blog and determine how difficult the actual writing of Flash Fiction might be…)

 

Sometimes referred to as the minisaga, microfiction, sudden fiction, the nanotale, micro-story, and the postcard, flash fiction has its roots in fables and parables.

In France, they are called novellas; in China, they are referred to as pocket-size stories, minute-long stories, and the smoke-long story (just long enough to read while smoking a cigarette).

Examples of early Flash Fiction are Aeosop’s Fables in the west and Jataka tales in India. You may be familiar with short stories of the 1930’s, collected in anthologiies, such as The American Short Short Story.

Access to the Internet has enhanced an awareness of flash fiction, with online journals being devoted entirely to the style. Examples are the SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Flash Fiction Online and Flash Fiction Magazine.

Social media has enabled a rapid spread of this genre. Such publishers as The Anonymous Writer and The Third Word Press use flash fiction to create stories online.

Learn how to write Flash Fiction in my next blog.