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Tag: short story

Writing a GUT-PUNCHING short story – Writing Stream Recap

For the exercise portion of the last stream, we wrote an entry to a contest that one of our viewers (Nicole Dark) is holding. The prompt is simple: write a gut-punching story in 1,500 words or less.

After brainstorming a bunch of ideas we chat, we finally settled on one and started writing. I was expecting only to do about 500 words, but I got so into it we ended up about 100 shy of the limit!

I really love how the story came together. It delivers not only one, but several punches straight to the gut. And the last one is a doozy.

You can read it here:

Rubbish to Published: 4 ways to come up with a story idea – Writing Stream Recap

With the last stream we started a new series called Rubbish to Published. As requested by the chat, we’ll go along step by step with the process of coming up with a story idea, fleshing it out, and actually writing it to the point of being “publishable.”

And what better way to start than by discussing how to come up with a story idea?

Today we went over four ways to come up with a story idea: (1) a “what if…?” (2) an image, (3) a character, and (4) something/someone from your life.

After taking about each method in detail, we opened it up to the chat for suggestions in each category. Here’s the great stuff everyone came up with:

Keiko – Good Stories Drawn Badly Ep. 01

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to show off my terrible MS Paint skills. The last chance I had was with a series at RocketNews24 called Learn Japanese through Ridiculous Manga. It was a lot of fun to create, but ultimately didn’t result in enough views/interest to justify the incredible amount of time I had to put into it every week.

But recently, about a year later, I thought about once again breaking out the old mouse and MS Paint canvas to draw something new. I’ve always been a fan of stories with illustrations, so I thought why not illustrate one of my short stories?

I started with Keiko, the shortest of my published stories, to try it out. It took a long time to draw, record and edit, but it was fun, so maybe I’ll do it again with another story in the future.

So if you like good stories that are drawn badly, check it out here on YouTube!

Weekend Review: “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang

As a fan of linguistic-fiction (and you should totally read my story Devilese plug plug plug), I get excited every time I see a new entry into the genre. So when I heard about the upcoming movie Arrival where a linguist cracks an alien species’ language, I was sold from the get-go.

Here’s the teaser trailer for the film if you haven’t seen it yet:

And best of all, Arrival is based on a short story – “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. Once I found that out I immediately read the whole thing, and I have to say it was one of the best short stories I’ve read… ever.

Masterpiece Monday: Oh For “The Love of God”

As you do when you’re a struggling writer, every week I write and submit short stories by the barrel to any online magazine that doesn’t shut its virtual door in my face. And when you’re checking out the online magazines to see if they cater to your kind of genre (I like to dabble in the lesser-known genres of Horribly-Written and Needs-Improvement), you get to read a lot of stories – some of which are pretty good.

This week I’d like to share a short excerpt from a story I read while peeking around the magazine Nimrod International Journal for Prose and Poetry. The story is from the current (Summer/Spring 2016) volume, and the title is “The Love of God” by Laura Jok.

It’s about two teenage girls who go to a summer Catholic retreat, one less willingly than the other. The two girls are going off to college together as roommates when summer is over, and here’s the conversation they have after the narrator failed to wake up her friend when she overslept:

“You sleep like a dead person,” I told her in the afternoon. “She is risen!”
“Is this how it’s going to be in the fall? Are you going to let me sleep through my college exams and stuff?”
“Exams, yes. Stuff, no.”
“I mean it. Can I count on you to wake me in the future?”
“Sista, iamb yore roommate knot chore keeper.”

That last sentence put a huge smile on my face when I read it. It’s a rare feat to express sarcasm and mockery in writing without it coming off as awkward or forced, but Laura Jok pulls it off perfectly here. The intentionally misspellings – which conveniently double as “fancy-sounding” words – let you hear the narrator’s mocking, fake-polite tone in your head as clearly as if she were making fun of you to your face.

It would’ve been so much more boring if the author had simply gone instead with “Sister, I am your roommate not your keeper.” Sure it would get the point across, but there would be no spice or life to it, and it certainly wouldn’t help create a memorable scene. This is a great example of taking a generic interaction, and then cracking it open like an egg with added detail to reveal the colorful (and delicious!) insides.

Click here to read the rest of “The Love of God,” and here to see more of Nimrod magazine. We’ll be back to looking at Harry Potter next Monday with a section that’s so good, it tells you. See you then!

(Featured image via GAHAG, edited by me)