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If you have just joined us, then you need to read previous editions in the series, you will find these here:
With each publication in this series, I was giving you assignments to do and asked you to return these to me for editing. This way you sent in your effort, which I called a ‘submission’ and I send back a ‘correction’ to you. In doing this, you ended up with a comparison.
If you have just joined us, you are free to submit the earlier assignments to us for correction, to help get you started.
Otherwise I have discontinued this routine for practical reasons.
Today we are going to look at what to write.
First let us consider Genre (What style of writing) we have chatted about this in Part Seven and I gave you a link showing all the many types of Genres.
To begin with, I would not concern myself with genre, unless of course you have a leaning towards say, poetry as opposed to short stories for instance.
The advantage of short stories over poetry, novels etc is the matter of what I call structural content.
For instance, with poetry you could be concerned with layout and rhyming before you can allow your creativity to flow. A novel would require even more structure of plot, characters, and layout.
Short stories are far simpler to write. The accepted short story word count is anywhere from 1000 words to 10,000 words. A short story book would be in the region of 40,000 words. My first book was 12 stories and poems totaling 45,000 words. Please bear in mind, the above numbers are for guidance only.
The principles I will discuss today, will work for short stories.
To begin with, go to your list of topics. (In Part Four you had to collect 50 topics and file them somewhere.) By the way, what I did not mention is that you must use a system of ‘use and replace’ with your topics. As mentioned in Part Four, every day we are surrounded by myriads of topics – they are as plentiful as the air we breathe. Note the most interesting that you observe.
Your 50 topics should be kept in memo form. I use ‘Microsoft One Note’ for this purpose. Each time you use a topic, replace it with another. If you find a more interesting/exciting topic remove one from your list and replace it with the one you have just discovered. I would encourage you to adopt a ‘purging process’ with your topic list. Always replacing existing topics with newer, exciting one’s.
The more you write, the more experienced you become and topics you placed in your list previously, become less exciting in the the light of new discoveries.
Always keep your ’50 list’ topped up. As a disciplined consistent blogger, you will always have material for publishing.
Part of the course up ahead, we will devote some time to blogging, as a means of you ‘getting your story out there.’
At this point you open a folder in your word processor software and title it ‘Short Story Project’. Select a topic from your list and begin the process of writing. Use the topic as a heading. The moment you type the heading (using ‘Title’ format) and centering it on the page you hit ‘Save As’. Go to your ‘Short Story Project’ Folder and using the topic title you open a file and save it. This an excellent discipline and will prevent many tears later.
Back to your story. You now have the topic title centered as a heading on a blank page.
Go to “borders, borders and shading, page border, settings, choose a format, colour and width and OK.”
Now you have a colour border with a centered heading and an otherwise blank page.
Start typing without spending time on grammar, punctuation etc. Just flow with your topic. Do not concern yourself with layout, simply write, write, write, whatever comes into your mind. If you are absolutely stuck (I never encourage this) Google the topic, jot down a few points and include these in your writing.
Keep going until you have at least 2500 words – you can do it!
If you cannot do it in one sitting, come back later, but make sure you use the technique of discipline (discussed in Part Seven.)
Remember to save your 2500 words in the folder ” ‘Short Story Project’ and under file (your topic.)
Now start the process of editing your work. Go through this procedure slowly and carefully, correcting grammar, punctuation and layout. If you are like me, you will probably have to go through it five of six times! If it’s possible ask a friend or family member to help you. If you choose to ask someone to assist, make sure that they don’t start changing your writing style.
Never lose sight that your writing style is uniquely you. Do not allow anyone to change it.
Next session, we are going to discuss how to set up a manuscript template and save your work, not only in your ‘Short Story Project Folder’ but in addition, in your manuscript folder.
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