Learning how to write again

Sometimes giving yourself permission to relax for a while, get back to the things you enjoy and identifying the things you love about the craft you practice really makes all the difference. As if the world was supporting my approach the day after I wrote my To-Do List this week, Writing Magazine appeared in my post box. So I had a fabulous reward to encourage me along.

One thing this week has taught me is that my approach to short story writing has to be vastly different to that of writing novels. Mind-mapping other short story ideas has demonstrated that I work much better with the pen and paper method for this type of story. I enjoy the feeling of the pen on the page and therefore I think more about what it is that I am writing. Once I’ve captured the essential idea of the story I can then write down all my questions and additional ideas along side or below the text, making the page a working draft. I can not do this on a computerised word document. I also can’t handwrite for very long before my knuckles start to ache, so there is a natural time limit to this method, hence it limits my word count quite nicely.

Thus, I’m learning; returning to the more traditional medium of my writing past encourages me to critique my work as I go and concentrate more on the length of the written piece. Maybe this is the key to my short story writing.

To-do List Review

February 4th – 10th

1. Complete a story that would be suitable for submission in the Bingo Short Story Competition – It’s taken me a while but I finally managed to complete one. It’s 2,000 words too long, but at least it’s done. I’ve managed to go through it and summarise changes that will improve it, so I feel sufficiently pleased with the result of this task for the moment.

2. Write three blog posts – Probably the one consistent task I always manage, because I enjoy it so much!

3. Write a 250 word synopsis for NaNo #1 for the NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza  – Not managed to get the polished 250 word version as yet, but I’ve written two or three possible pitches to see what elements of the story I regularly pick out to try and identify my key message.

4. Identify three new blogs to add to my Reader  – Added more than three I think, but I did have fun wandering the ether of the web to discover some kindred spirits. 

5. Start mind-mapping ideas for other short stories – I had a wonderful afternoon on Saturday throwing around some ideas for a Writing Magazine Competition where the last line has to be ‘The was the last time I ever saw Emma’. I think I might have a possibly intriguing approach and I’m looking forward to writing it and seeing how it might work.

Now I’ve identified a means to help me write my short stories maybe I’ll actually be able to write some! So, here’s this week’s list to help me along:

To-do List

February 11th – 17th

1. Complete a working final draft of my Bingo Short story

2. Write three blog posts

3. Complete my 250 word synopsis for NaNo #1 for the NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza 

4. Write up a draft of the ideas explored for the last line competition in Writing Magazine

5. Tidy up my writing desk in anticipation of some serious Editing!


4 responses to “Learning how to write again

  1. Cool, Cat. It sounds like you are figuring out the novel-short story dilemna. Way to go! One thing I learned from mind mapping is that it seems the third or forth bubble out is where things get interesting. I was taught the first bubble or so was typically cliche. Good luck with it and let us know how u r doing!

    • Thanks Dan. I agree, I find the further away I get from my original kernel of an idea the more intriguing it gets.

      Good luck with sorting the ‘cliché’ of romance: I know that I have a very typical cliché in my NaNo#1 – the Doctor is having an affair with his nurse. But, they are clichés for a reason: because they happen. I figure I should be allowed one minor one to spark off the reader’s interest – and besides, the affair ends very atypically so I think I get away with it (I hope I do now, after reading your blog post!).
      Take Care,

  2. I am very impressed with your list! You seem to have a great work ethic. I am rather sloppy in comparison, writing all over the place, at any time of day and totally incapable of ‘planning a story’. It’s a surprise I manage to write anything – but somehow I do!

    • We all have our unique methods Wendy; as long as yours works for you that’s what is important!
      I also find that, often, when I plan a story I start to write it and it won’t conform to my ‘plan’. Still, that’s when things get interesting!
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Keep writing!
      Take Care,
      Cat x

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