Friday, June 26, 2009

How To Write A Short Story

I found a great article on WikiHow, explaining How To Write A Short Story. I really like it, and thought I would post the main steps on here. Click through to the article for more details!
  1. Read plenty of short stories
  2. Gather ideas for your story - learn how to brainstorm
  3. Choose an idea and start with the basics of a short story
  4. Know your characters
  5. Limit the breadth of your story - days or even minutes
  6. Decide who will tell the story
  7. Start writing
  8. Come out swinging
  9. Keep writing
  10. Let the story "write itself"
  11. Revise and edit
  12. Get some second opinions
  13. Incorporate whatever edits, revisions and suggestions are valid

  • Do research - i.e. if it's set in the 1950's
  • Use music to help connect you to emotions and events you want to convey

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guardian Short Story Competition

Are you a budding writer? Do you have a story tucked away that you've never had the nerve to show anyone?

Every year, in August, the Guardian's Weekend magazine publishes a selection of original fictions by the some of the best authors writing today. Last August's fiction special featured Annie Proulx, Julian Barnes, Alice Sebold and Tessa Hadley, among others, and this summer we'll be unveiling another line up of stellar names. But this year, yours could be among them: for the first time, we're inviting readers to submit their stories to our annual summer fiction issue.

We've asked authors William Boyd and Julie Myerson to judge your submissions, and they will be looking for the most original, gripping and well-crafted pieces of writing. Their favourite story will be published in the magazine; the five runners-up will have their stories published on

All you need to do is send us a story of no more than 2,000 words by 10 July. It can be on any theme, but it must be previously unpublished and we can only accept one story per entrant.

If you've got a story languishing in a drawer, or you've always wanted to try your hand at writing, but never had the reason – or the discipline – to get started, now's your chance.

Send your story by 10 July to Short Stories, Guardian Weekend, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU Please include a phone number.

See full article in the Guardian for full terms and conditions.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Still Planning...

Just in case you'd all wondered where I'd got to, I'm still busy planning out ideas for my new story involving little people. I'm now thinking of leaving out the Supernatural elements of the story, and have the only science fiction element of it being that they get shrunk in a top secret shrinking machine built by the government. I have heard that when creating a fictional story, if it's science fiction, then it's best to use only unbelievable thing, make sure everything else in the story conforms to the rules and technology of the world we live in now. That way it becomes more believable by the audience, and they won't just think the whole thing is completely made up. I hope that works anyway!

The basic idea is that the government is working on a top secret project where they intend to shrink human soldiers down to 5 inches tall, and have them work covertly in enemy territory. They would make excellent spies, and would be well trained to get the job done. Brings a whole new idea of warfare if you imagine miniature armies fighting each other. Tiny Soldiers could assassinate a Prime Minister, they could easily infiltrate government buildings and individual homes being so small.

My story will mainly focus on a small group of civilians, who either accidentally get shrunk, or the government uses them as test subjects, and then they escape. I just need to think of a reason why the government would use these people as test subjects, would they be people the government wanted to disappear? Or would they volunteer to be test subjects, assuming it's some medical testing, and not knowing exactly what it is until it's too late? Perhaps they desperately need the money? Especially given the economic climate!

Any help and advice would be gratefully received! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reading Challenges

In stumbling across a bunch of Blogspot blogs, I found Bobbi’s Book Nook. It features lots of book reviews, but also some reading challenges, like the Graphic Novel Challenge and the Short Story Book Challenge. Basically the challenges seem to consist of reading 6 books in 6 months, or whatever amount in whatever time scale they set. It sounds like fun and I could certainly do with the encouragement to do some more reading. I have stacks of novels I keep meaning to read, and a challenge like this might be enough to get me to read them! :)

Happy Reading Everyone! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A New Story...

I have the idea of a new story, not really sure of the characters yet, or much of what they're going to do. I've heard it's a good idea to get to know your characters first, and then decide what you're going to do with them. So I better figure out who they are!

Here's the idea so far:

A bit like Supernatural meets The Borrowers. A bunch of people/hunters get magically shrunk to 6 inches tall. They have to find a way to survive, as well as fighting various supernatural enemies at their reduced size. I'm thinking rats possessed by demons/ghosts, small gremlin-like creatures and chupucabras towering over them, but able to chase them through most small openings. And maybe have a government/police organisation trying to find them (a little Land of the Giants influence too!).

I'm not sure whether to have a couple of people shrunk, or a group of them, from all different walks of life. I haven't figured out the characters yet, so I could have any. Also thinking of having a miniature society of people, perhaps people that have been magically shrunk in the past and somehow survived and bred their own hidden society, maybe out in burrows in the countryside. Of course, this society might not be too friendly or helpful, and may be a little territorial.

Any other ideas or inspiration would be greatefully received while I try to plan this out! It's nice to not have to panic with planning this story, as I don't have a deadline nor is it for a challenge like ScriptFrenzy or Nanowrimo. So I can relax with the planning stage and hopefully come up with something good!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter Slump - 33 pages down, 67 to go!

I last worked on my Gargoyle script for ScriptFrenzy on 11th April, with a massive 10 page sprint to reach 33 Pages! I was so impressed and pleased with myself, I took the next day off, enjoying Easter, eating a whole army of chocolate eggs, nests, even chocolate custard in a trifle! But now a week later, I realise my day off has lasted much longer than one day!

Now still on my 33 pages, with 12 days to go, giving me a writing target of 5.58 pages a day to write the next 67 pages by April 30th! Higher than the original target (3.33 pages a day), but still doable as I have managed 10 pages in a day! So time to get writing again I think!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ScriptFrenzy - 14 Pages!

After a couple of days stuck on a scene and taking a break (mainly playing with my FortunaFanspace page, a fansite for professional dancer Brian Fortuna - it's 'writing' HTML, so it's kinda writing! lol), I've finally caught back up to 14 pages! I'm still a little behind, but I'm getting back with it now, and should still be able to complete 100 pages by 30th April! Providing I remember not to play with my fansite again, although I could do, if I just make sure I've done my allotted pages for ScriptFrenzy first!

I think I definitely have a problem committing to something once I decide to do it, I really want to do something, until it actually starts, then I really really wanna do anything but that! Why is that? Such a pain, I'll just have to learn to be tough on myself and make sure I do it earlier in the day and don't miss it out!

For anyone on ScriptFrenzy, my username is Green_Raven, you can add me as a friend on there and we can compare word counts! I need something to chase! lol!

Happy Writing Everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ScriptFrenzy - 3 Pages!

I've done my 3 pages for ScriptFrenzy today! Yay! Harder than you'd think to get them done today, I think starting a new story can be difficult anyway, but getting my head around the awkward formatting doesn't help. Especially when you have indentations for the dialogue on the left and the right, and have to change it between each action and dialogue and slugline. So frustrating. Perhaps I should have opted for screenwriting software?
A little late now. I also realised, although I have my plot outline, my two main characters, a Gargoyle and a Young Witch, still don't have any names! My two most important characters and they don't yet have a name! I better pick a name soon for my gargoyle character, as there's going to be more than one gargoyle, and that could cause some confusion! lol!
Other than that, all going well and on target! :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Script Outlining Nightmares

I’ve never been particularly good at planning outlines and developing plots before I start my scripts and novels for ScriptFrenzy and Nanowrimo, after stressing over it big time last night (How to get the story idea down to 9 sentences???) I seem to have managed to do it! Split into three acts (rather messily, and more than one sentence for each of the 9 “chapters”), I think I’m on the right track. Hopefully it will keep me going right til the end of April, right through my 100 pages of script! Phew! And just in the nick of time with ScriptFrenzy starting tomorrow!

After ScriptFrenzy I’d like to do a short story, I’ve no idea how to plan a short story (not tried before), do you split that into chapters? It’s kind of like one chapter in a sense, being so short. Though you might split it into 3 parts, Beginning, Middle and End? Think I might have to find out how to plan and structure short stories! But first I’ll concentrate on my script, I want to beat my 12 pages I managed last year, and having an outline this year hopefully will help a lot!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday Fiction - Time Travel

The One Minute Writer Blog posts daily writing prompts, and as I’ve just discovered, they post weekly Friday short fiction writing prompts. This week’s Friday Fiction prompt is about Time Travel, with instructions to “Write a brief, creative, fictional piece about time travel.” I couldn’t resist this, so just had to have a go. So here’s my attempt:

Walking along the pavement, Anna glanced at her watch, just enough time to grab something to eat before her lunch ended. “Bloody Bank Queues” she mumbled, as she approached the chip shop counter.

“Hi Honey, what can I get you?” asked the cheery man behind the counter.

Before she managed to answer, another man bounded up to the counter, with an exuberant energy she wasn’t quite used to on a Wednesday lunchtime. Dressed in long brown coat, wearing a blue suit with sneakers. Nothing seemed to go, not even his scruffy hair and protruding nose. “Oh, that‘s what I like to see. Service with a smile.” he said with surprising enthusiasm, “Tell you what, mate, you couldn‘t rustle me up a couple of bags of chips could you? Only I‘m in a bit of a hurry, life and death and all that.” Noticing Anna’s open mouthed astonished face, he added “Oh you don‘t mind do you, darling? Only the whole world’ll come to a stop if I they have to wait for me.”

Sighing heavily, Anna replied “You‘re not the only one who has a half hour lunch break you know. And if you don‘t mind, I‘ve only got 12 minutes left of mine.”

“Oh I‘m sorry love, only I think my jobs a bit more important than yours, don‘t you?” and with that, he whipped out a piece of paper that said something about environmental health on it.
The cheery counter guy rushed to serve him piping hot fresh chips, with a really worried look on his face. “Here, here. Y-You won‘t find fresher chips in this town, Sir.”

“Hmm, well, we‘ll see.” replied the strange man with a condescending look. Taking the chips handed to him, he pulled out a chip, and chewed it over thoughtfully, whilst the guy behind the counter looked on hesitantly. After a long pause, he said “Not bad… not bad at all.”

The counter guy breathed a huge sigh of relief. And with that, the strange guy in the long coat, whirled round and swept out of the chip shop. Long coat swishing as he went.

“Who was that guy?” Anna asked, incredulously.

“Oh he's the Doctor.” replied a previously unnoticed girl in the doorway, short but pretty, with shoulder length blonde hair. “And he‘s going to save all your lives.”

“Doctor Who?” Anna asked, astonished.

“Just the Doctor” she replied, with a wry smile, and walked away.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Script Development

I’m currently in the script development process for my ScriptFrenzy plot, I usually struggle with planning an outline/plot for a novel or a script, and have never had one fully planned out before I began writing it. I was so pleased today to find Script Development advice on Script Advisory Service blog.

They’re posting a few entries on Script Development, here’s Development Post 1 and Development Post 2. There may be more in the next few days, and I shall be eagerly awaiting their posts!

So far, my script planning seems to be going quite well, I seem to have some good ideas coming together now, after starting to plan at the beginning of March. My usual problem is not giving myself enough time to plan for ScriptFrenzy and Nanowrimo, so hopefully I’ve given myself enough time, this time!

Here’s the results of my following the writing exercise as posted in Script Advisory Service’s Development Post 2:

A good set up for a script needs 3 things:

1) A character
2) A desire, objective or goal
3) An obstacle

The setup of my script:

The story is about A GARGOYLE ON THE RUN who wants TO LIVE AS A NORMAL HUMAN but A WITCH AND A DEMON, AND THE EVIL THEY SUMMON, stands in the way.

I think I have a basic setup now! :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."
- Nehru, Jawaharlal

Writing Blog

I was inspired to start a writing blog after reading Sera Gamble’s official website, and then seeing she does her own writer’s blog, writes short fiction, as well as writing scripts for the hit CW TV show, Supernatural. She has a pretty good Frequently Asked Questions section on her website, she gives good advice on how to get good at writing, and get your writing accepted. Basically a lot of hard work and writing!

At first I was surprised to discover she writes short fiction as well as TV scripts, as I only knew her from writing my favourite TV show, Supernatural. It was from her list of works that I found a link to a short piece she wrote forNerve, a blogsite of Original Essays and Photography on Sex, Arts and Culture. The short fiction she wrote, Blue Star, is only 4611 words long. It’s a short story, but very well written and you get to know the characters in such a short space, I wouldn’t have thought it possible. I was so impressed and thought it would be a good thing to aim for, I can practice my own writing skills by keeping a Writing Blog and posting short pieces of fiction on it, as well as any ideas and updates on what I‘m working on right now. As I like to take part in ScriptFrenzy andNanowrimo writing competitions, and thought I could share my progress on the writing blog too. And that is what you have here. Thanks for the inspiration, Sera! :)