This week: On This DayEdited by: Shannon
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Welcome to the Short Stories Newsletter. I am Shannon and I'm your editor this week.
Years ago I bought some software that allowed the user to look up "This Day In History" and print them out to give as gifts. You could make 9"x11" frameable wall hangings or birthday cards with the recipient's date of birth featured. I found it fascinating, and everyone loved them.
Yesterday I watched a documentary titled More Than a Month --a film about Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a 29-year-old African-American filmmaker who goes on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month.
Again, I was fascinated. Why would a black man want to end Black History Month? But my interest was really piqued when Shukree used a deck of African-American History Flash Cards to test people's knowledge of how black people contributed to the forming of a nation and its laws. I began to fantasize about how much I could learn from these cards, so I did a Google search to find them, but I didn't stop there. I searched Amazon for U.S. History Flash Cards , then World History Flash Cards . I thought of all those cards and all those possibilities. Pick a card, any card. The potential story ideas are literally limitless.
Here are just a few examples from this day in history, June 20 (facts courtesy of On-This-Day.com ):
1793: Eli Whitney applied for a cotton gin patent. He received the patent on March 14. The cotton gin initiated the American mass-production concept.
1863: West Virginia became the 35th state to join the U.S.
1943: Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit. Federal troops were sent in two days later to end the violence that left more than 30 dead.
1947: Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills, CA, at the order of mob associates angered over the soaring costs of his project, the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas, NV.
1955: The AFL and CIO agreed to combine names and a merge into a single group.
1967: Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.
1969: Jimi Hendrix earned the largest paycheck (to that time) for a single show when he earned $125,000 for a single set at the Newport Jazz Festival.
1977: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline began operation (my dad worked there for years when I was a child).
1983: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers must treat male and female workers equally in providing health benefits for their spouses.
2002: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the execution of mentally retarded murderers was unconstitutionally cruel. The vote was 6 in favor and 3 against.
Interested in civil rights? Women's suffrage? History-making voyages across the Atlantic? The death penalty? Thalidomide? MK-ULTRA? The Black Plague? Pick a card that interests you and fictionalize it. Show that blank screen who's boss! Interesting facts and numerous story ideas surround you every minute of every day. All you have to do is open your eyes to the potential ... and maybe do a little research.
Thank you for reading.
In last month's Short Stories Newsletter I presented a challenge: "Does your character's mind play tricks on him? What sends him off the deep end? Is he cool, calm, and collected, or does his imagination get the better of him? Answer these questions by writing a story of 1,000 words or less (word count must be included at the bottom of the piece) and email it to me. I will read/review each one and my favorite will receive a Short Stories merit badge + a 10k awardicon. Stories must be newly written for this contest, and please keep the rating 18+ or below. Deadline is June 6, and winning entry will be featured in the June 20 Short Stories Newsletter. Good luck!"
platinumbwords received a Short Stories merit badge as well as a 10k awardicon for submitting the winning entry. Congratulations, Jacky!
I hope you enjoy this week's featured selections. Please remember to do the authors the courtesy of reviewing the ones you read. Thank you, and have a great week!
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The following is in response to "Short Stories Newsletter (May 23, 2012)" :
Mara ♣ McBain says, "So glad that you're OKAY ...but loved your NL. *giggles* I would've been terrified as well and after your husband and sons response I so agree with MEN!" Hahaha! Yeah, I agree with Del too, Mara. At the time it was just a little frustrating. You know, the whole reasoning and rationale of it all.
sandirev says, "Hi Shannon. I enjoyed this and I was inspired to write. I was struggling with the concept of 'shorts' as my focus was on a novel! Oh me oh my. I'll stick to learning and growing shorts then move forward. Thanks again." Thank you! I'm glad you found the newsletter inspiring.
SkyHawk - Writing 2011 NaNo says, "You're right, Shannon, that you can't live inside a box and expect fresh ideas to come up. And that idea of, 'I sit at my computer for three hours everyday, whether I write something or not'? I believe the technical term for that is, 'a rut.' And I'll take your ideas back to the computer. If you're not coming up with ideas, take a break from your work and read (or even write) something else. If your forte is, say, Victorian-era fiction, take a leap in time and look into the gangsters of the 1920's. If you've been concentrating on action/adventure stories, then walk past a few bookshelves to the romance section, or even erotic literature (and yes, 'erotic literature' doesn't have to be a contradiction in terms). Whatever new area you find may just liven up your own writing when you come back to it (or even take it in a new direction). Just don't get locked into the idea that whatever current project you're working on is the sine qua non [an indispensable condition, element, or factor; something essential] of your writing." You are SO right, SkyHawk! I couldn't have said it better myself.
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