Short Stories: October 14, 2020 Issue [#10421]
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 This week: Do Your Thing
  Edited by: Leger~
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

The purpose of this newsletter is to help the short story author hone their craft and improve their skills. Along with that I would like to inform, advocate, and create new, fresh ideas for the short story author. Write to me if you have an idea you would like presented.

This week's Short Story Editor

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor

Do Your Thing

Everyone has their own concept of what a short story is. But I think we can agree that more important than a word count, the bones of the story have to be good. A good beginning, the hook that brings your reader in. A good story arc with movement and good dialog. And the ending has to be just that, a good wrap on the story that doesn't disappoint.

Many of the contests in WDC ask for a fairly short word count. It takes a thousand words for me to just get warmed up! But I'm learning to be efficient and more concise with my descriptions. I feel the most important part is to let the reader make assumptions. Let them decide if your character is blond or brunette. Also, make your dialog important. "Pass the sugar" is a waste of time unless it's loaded with arsenic, right?

In all of that, if your story has a beginning and end, you have an entry. It might not be stellar writing, but you've stretched your creativity and perhaps started on the path of a good piece of work. It's a good exercise for the writer. Hang in there, enjoy the prompts and Write On!

This month's question: How do you distill your writing? Send in your answer below! *Down* Editors love feedback!

Editor's Picks

Thanks, Ray  (E)
First in Show Don’t Tell contest. A story of a secret love.
#2233409 by Kotaro

Excerpt: Ruby came out of the brick building housing the literature college with her books to her chest. My heart pressured mine, as I watched. That was as close as I had ever shared my existence with her. I wanted to help her carry those books, but that wasn’t part of the plans I had struggled to decide on.

Musical Treasure  (13+)
Fan Fiction featuring Alessia Cara
#2225228 by 💙 Carly - BLUE!!💙

Excerpt: Needing to get out and away from the crush of fans and other crazies, Alessia Cara had slipped out; leaving her entourage to fend for itself. She walked the trails down to the lake, taking care to watch out for bears that she was told liked to wander around this area. No sense attracting that kind of attention.

Queen of Hearts And Ace Of Spades   (18+)
In a world of masks and music, two with gifts meet each other and decide who to trust.
#2221293 by SB Musing

Excerpt: The club vibrated with the music that he played over the oversized speakers. The air hummed with the electricity of it all, and the beat was so loud it felt like a second heartbeat. He spun the record several times and felt out the audience in front of him. The DJ wore a cover over his face with crossed-out eyes and a jack o lantern mouth. The mask glowed in the dark, dense space and pulsated on and off with the beat.

 Watchful Starman  (13+)
David Bowie's music saved me. His death was so tragic for me.
#2220118 by MacabreCuriosity

Excerpt: Even in death our brightest stars never fade from our hearts. They affect us. More so than the tragedy of their deaths. They linger for us. Never truly leaving.

 An Ode to Maggie Taylor  (18+)
An amateur musician shares a tale about a bewitching woman, stretchin many generations.
#2211564 by Dalimer Corwyn

Excerpt: "Let's give it up for Ned Dovery!" A chubby man in suspenders started to rile the crowd by clapping.

I sit on the stool, acoustic guitar at hand, and squint from the overpowering luminosity of the limelight shining on my face. Beads of sweat trickle down my cheek; I pray nobody confuses it with stage fright.

The Tenth Opus  (13+)
"Curse of the Ninth" -- Few composers have made it to the tenth symphony. Can Walter?
#2006332 by Joy

Excerpt: The instant Walter heard a female voice croon off-key from the back of the subway cab, he knew he could incorporate her tune into his tenth. The idea made him tremble with a surge of excitement. Yet, as soon as he thought, tenth, an acute dread enveloped him.

 The Gig  (ASR)
Written for the Writer's Cramp prompt, 10/21/19.
#2203729 by hullabaloo22

Excerpt: You would not believe how long I've been waiting to see these guys play; not even if I told you. Every album they've released, every video that they've made, I've got the instant it became available. When the announcement of the gig was made, okay, not local but near enough to travel to, I was first in line for a ticket.

On That Note  (13+)
Sometimes a beautiful instrument can hit the wrong note
#1961180 by Eric Wharton

That's what the sign on the door said as it hung at an odd angle. It wasn't Sunday, so when the doorknob of the small curio shop twisted easily in her hand, Maria figured she had gotten lucky. She reconsidered after seeing only a dim half-light casting shadows over the articles inside. Maria was about to turn around, thinking that the owners had accidentally left the door unlocked, when she heard a slight cough.

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Ask & Answer

This month's question: How do you distill your writing? Send in your answer below! *Down* Editors love feedback!

Last month's question: Has music inspired something in your writing?

vada : Definitely, I have written stories inspired by a song. Sometimes it's a line in the song that evokes either emotion or a visual or both that get my creative juices flowing. I also use "story tapes" that I play while writing that helps dig down to the emotions or set the mood. Vada

Lilli, Coffee Elf ☕ : While I was writing this story, "The Visit I listened to Pachelbel’s Canon, continuously; for the entire writing process, on loop.

Rinsoxy : I wrote the climax to my second book while listening to the lord of the rings soundtrack. It really upped the mood in the scenes.

Steven - Collecting Rejections : I've written a heap of stories based on songs... and, more than that, appeared in an anthology of stories based on songs (mine was 'Stay' by Shakespear's Sister... yes, spelt that way), and am appearing in another one in Nov/Dec, based on 'Waiting For The End' by Linkin Park. On those rare occasions I am struck with writer's block, a song will help. Song-based stories are great!

***I think I answered this in direct response to the newsletter, but I will sometimes use lyrics for songs to inspire a story. I've even sold a few (one was for an anthology actually called Song Stories). The next coming out is in an anthology book called Banned (Black Hill Press), where I based a song on the Linkin Park song 'Waiting For The End'. Inspired a horror story.

graybabe : I like some types of jazz so I used it as a background for my first novel, Loveable Resident.

FlyingDuckManGenesis : Maybe not on this website, but I was inspired to write a song called "Toddler Titans No!" and posted the lyrics on YouTube videos containing the Teen Titans song from the 2003 series. I have unfortunately developed a vendetta against the Teen Titans, thanks in part to Teen Titans Go! (or as fans of The Mysterious Mr. Enter call it, "Toddler Titans") hogging 99% of Cartoon Network's screentime that rightfully belongs to other, much better CN shows, most especially Sonic Boom, which does TTG's concept right by making its heroes actually competent and heroic, keeping them likable as a result. My vendetta against the Teen Titans is so strong that I don't even like the original 2003 series, partially because it led to the creation of TTG. If enough of you want to see the lyrics to "Toddler Titans No!" on this website, I might put them in my portfolio.

ForeverDreamer : Yes. I had Alice Cooper's album Welcome 2 My Nightmare on my mind when I wrote my story "Forever Dream

Jolan trains folks to hat toss : Phil Collins have no idea why but it gets me in the write that is.

Jolly Ol' Sum1 : I've seen Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert about 10-11 times, and am always amazed at their abilities. They inspired me to write a poem "The Band , I thought of them, and their lead guitarist while writing it. Yes, I know there are two groups that tour, I've seen both in my time. Al Pitrelli is the guitarist I had in mind while writing it. One year, I decided I'd give back to them, and printed about 15 copies of the poem to hand to each of them at the autograph session after the show. Yes, I realize few, if any of them actually read it, but still, it did my heart good handing it to them. The thing is though, that when I handed the first band member a copy of the poem, he signed it! Not only that, he passed it down, and everyone else signed it too. Now, I have a poem I wrote about one of my favorite bands, signed by them. Talk about a one of a kind item... Wow... Of course my signed copy is framed to protect it.

LK Hunsaker : An epic serial/saga that will be 7 books plus a sequel and likely a prequel, which altogether will have well over 2 million words. And a new Songwriters & Cities series under my pen name. Plus a standalone novel... Yes, I'd say so.

Lynn Nichole : There is a degree to which music inspires everything in my writing. Sometimes I'm inspired to write an entire sequence inspired by a piece of music, but almost everything that I write has some connection to music, usually by sharing emotional, philosophical, or spiritual themes. I often listen to music to fuel my creative energies, and I commonly listen to music while writing key scenes or building/exploring characters. So, I find it difficult to separate music from my writing; the two work in tandem for me.

Nostrum : I use music to attune to the mood I want to reflect in the story I write, or as a way to maintain focus. In the first instance, I use it in the same way a TV series or movies use background music - in fact, I use a lot of RPG music when I want to set the mood. (For example: in a long-form story I've written, I used the songs "The Trial" (Yasunori Mitsuda, Chrono Trigger soundtrack) and "Testimony ~ Allegro" (Masakazu Sugimori, Gyakuten Saiban Yomigaeru Gyakuten Original Soundtrack) as a way to create the mood for a slightly altered recreation of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc, and eventually on a fun mock trial between some of my characters. In the same way, I use battle themes when I need to do action scenes, or certain city and dungeon themes for when I need to set the ambiance.

As for inspirational aid, I've been hearing a lot of Dream Theater's "Stream of Consciousness", which I've found to be incredibly good for concentration in a lot of ways.

That said - I've felt tempted to write a short story regarding the lyrics to the song "Exploder", from Audioslave. A bit of how the three phases could be explained as part of one, since it's basically a story by itself.

samratroy: The tune of music sets the tone or nature of the story.

JJ Del : I love writing to music.

Israel Snowplume : Aye, I wrote a song. It seemed unsingable to me.

TJ-Do You Hear What I Hear : Yes, definitely! Although I cannot listen to music when I'm writing, I've often gotten ideas for stories and poems while listening to songs. Very seldom does the story or poem have any relation to the song, but in listening to the song, it seems to ignite my creativity. Perhaps this is why I have to turn the music off while I write.

TheBusmanSantaPoet : I listen to music when writing but no inspiration from music. I get it from other sources within myself.

Thank you for all the wonderful replies, much appreciated!
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