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Short Stories: April 28, 2021 Issue [#10742]

 This week: Building Character
  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 Writing.com 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

Building Character

Many of you have extra time on your hands. Less time commuting, less time running errands, all of it adds up to a little bonus of time here and there. Many people are not taking vacations this year, opting for safer staycations. Right now, things might be a little chaotic at home and you're finding it hard to write.

I have a suggestion. Grab a few minutes here and there and build some characters. I know I have a few stumbling around in my head and I'm always afraid I'll lose that awesome image. If you don't have any hitchhikers in your brain, look through some images online. Save a few that appeal to your muse. Then while looking at one, think about the type of character the person (or creature) might be and do some free writing about that character.

Would it be a protagonist, the main character of your story? The deuteragonist, your trusty sidekick for the antagonist? Or is it the antagonist, causing conflict and whose specialty is getting in the way. Then there's my favorite, the tertiary character, the quirky and sometimes troublesome person that drops in and out of the story.

While you don't want to copy the exact image you're looking at, since that is someone else's work, use that image to inspire your own character. Describe them, list words that will give them life and breath. They don't have to look exactly like Bilbo Baggins for example, but think about features that would help your reader imagine a deeper persona. Because even in short stories, you don't want your characters to be flat and boring. And if you're restricted by word count, your image word choices are important.

Now you'll have some ready built and more complex characters to plug into the story, without having to slow down and think about a character that is only minimally important to your storyline. They could be cousins, shopkeepers, river boat captains, right? Plus while you're having fun building these characters, I'm willing to bet a new story will pop into your head. So make room for ideas, and as always, Write On!

This month's question: Do you have any ready-made characters in your head? Send in your answer below! *Down* Editors love feedback!

Editor's Picks

The Writer's Cramp  (13+)
Write the best POEM or STORY in 24 hours or less and win 10K GPs!
#333655 by Sophy v.2021

Great prizes!

 The Stars  (E)
Children learn of the hero Telemos, and of the stars above their world.
#2247296 by Daniel Wilcox

Excerpt: The next evening as the sun began his journey to the world beyond, the boy returned to the hill with his young sister. The old story teller was there, as she always was, hidden away from the world among the tall green summer grass and broken grey-white marble pillars. Watching as the boy and his sister climbed, pleased to have him near again.

Ugly  (E)
A dreadful revelation for a wandering troll
#2194173 by Beholden

Excerpt: Even for a troll, Grubmuncher was ugly. So ugly, indeed, that the other trolls shunned his company. In time, he was forced from society.

 The Raven  (18+)
A Rogue Ship with a crew of Sub-Hating Souls goes to War'
#2248403 by Ari

Excerpt: Retired Captain Willy Rogers picked up the ringing phone and couldn't believe what he heard, "The Raven? Can't be; they scrapped her years ago."
An Admiralty Department voice assured him it was still afloat, but it blocked a busy ship channel.

Mista Boavista  (13+)
“It’s completely free,” he purred, holding out the envelope.
#2248857 by deemac

Excerpt: In fairness to ourselves, Roy was nothing like how we’d imagined a hawker would look, in his crisp white linen suit, topped with the most dazzlingly white flashing smile Herself had ever swooned over. And I ask you, what kind of beggar have you ever come across who carries a clipboard emblazoned with what looks like a Tourist Board logo (especially when you see it upside down), enquires earnestly if you’re enjoying your holiday and actually seems interested enough to jot down your answers?

Our Last Walk  (E)
This story is inspired by a walk I took with my father.
#2244086 by N. Mulhare

Excerpt: I hadn’t seen Dad in a while, as I only visited every other weekend. He had the same curly black hair, scruffy beard, and he wore his typical dark blue jeans and band t-shirt. It felt so good to hug him again. After our warm greeting, we headed inside to eat. Upon entering the house, the air permeated with the smell of herbs and spices. We were all in for a treat, because Grandma was making her special sauce. The four of us sat down to eat and enjoy all of Grandma’s hard work. All through the meal Dad and I made funny faces at each other. After we overindulged on pasta, dessert was served. Grandma made her little Italian cookies with sprinkles on them. I remember eating so many I felt close to bursting. When dessert came to a close, Dad suggested that just him and I take a walk.

The Weeper  (ASR)
Young musician owes his overwhelming success to a possessed violin.
#2243365 by J.B. Ezar

Excerpt: I have decided to stop letting my guilt impede my progress. How can one return lost property if there are no identifying traits, and no owner came forward to claim it? For months, I was just borrowing that violin; I never took it home, keeping it in Herr Steiner’s house. Never until today.

Positive Image  (18+)
Casey's cousin finds a picture that doesn't exist.
#2206211 by Satuawany

Excerpt: “Who's the girl?” Asa asked.

I lifted the photo away from his grasp, as if bringing it closer would shake loose a memory. “I've never seen her before in my life.”

 Why is the Light Still On?  (18+)
When the parents disappear, four siblings go looking for them. They want to know why too.
#2247020 by PureSciFi

Excerpt: Suddenly, the helicopter stops because the hand is swatting the sky all around it. “I don’t think that they want us to come here.” “No, really! What makes you think that?” Nora asks.

Bumble Bear's Big Day Out  (E)
A children's story about a bear who gets lost.
#2244948 by Choconut

Excerpt: Bumble Bear had been looking forward to his trip to the seaside with Sarah and her mummy and daddy. All the time he lay shut in Sarah’s suitcase, listening to the chug-a-chug of the train, he dreamt of eating sugary candy floss and building sandcastles with his best friend.

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Ask & Answer

This month's question: Do you have any ready-made characters in your head? Send in your answer below! *Down* Editors love feedback!

Last month's "Short Stories Newsletter (March 31, 2021) question: What are some favorite phrases you've written?

dragonwoman : "Trust is a fragile thing. So easily lost or broken."

Elfin Dragon - contest hunting : favorite phrases: "There are very few constants in the universe and one of those is that there will always be a ship named Enterprise."

FlyingDuckManGenesis : "Oh, great. Where's that scary rabbit when you need him?"
Ryan McHiggins, Toddlerhood Interactive.

Kåre Enga, P.O. 22, Blogville : Excellent question but you'd have to ask my readers or reviewers. Yes, I love it when certain phrases flow effortlessly or j j j jar.

But, I'm one of those people who write every day. By tomorrow I may have moved on to the next shiny thing. I forget.

I do like:

all hear my roar: the crack of oak,
the wrench of roof, the crash of glass,
a dog's last woof.

in "I, Katrina

Because people get upset over the poor dog ... which is the reaction I want.

We can wash our dreams
in the river of life
and hang them to dry
on the horns of a crescent moon

"when its dark enough,
my heart makes mistakes
in a misstep I fell for you
now my hearts in a panic,
damaged by you-
and the light in the truth,
is the only reason to
lighten up"

"Lighten up"

A girl asked why my romance poetry is dark and tragic-
I told her I was gone "lighten up"...

Fyn : "Overhead, the Canada geese were shaftless arrows shot from some instinctual bow piercing the morning sky with their raucous goodbyes."

Annette : His smirk was unbearable.

Dragonfly : She finally let go of that sad world of woulda, coulda, shoulda, which held her back.

LorenIsOneOfMyNames : "I try not to think about it, but my father says I’m too bright to let things pass me by and too dumb not to point them out."

Kat Green, "Ides of March

TheBusmanPoet : Complacency is not an option.

n.lea : I leave the essence of my soul in ink on the leaves of trees.

Mikel Bardsdale : ‘I'm busy beating and being beaten.’

‘Is a vandal more lawless than those who lawlessly cause them to break the law? We need an unbiased judge to hear the vandal's reason. Only he can put the right man into prison.’

‘Hurt people hurt people.’

Rehtaeh Daens : I take pride in these; I believe they're fresh and original. That said, don't take them without asking first, please. *Smile*

"A skeleton with hollow eyes and maggots feasting on my brittle bones. I sound dramatic. I’m only thirteen years old, so of course I’m dramatic."

"[The Doctor] gave me an expiration date like I was a jug of milk."

"I half-heartedly chuck a rock into the city park pond, and watch ripples disturb the algae bloom around its slow-moving edges."

"[The pond] meanders throughout the park as its amoeba-like arms stretch in off-kilter directions."

Bob : Of all the mediums I have used word pictures seem the best. It may take a week to unfold a literary canvas.

Briar Quinn : "The girl had hair like peaches and a smile just as sweet."
I loved that line. It made me so proud.

Dr Gonzo : "Hope rides the rays of sunshine through our lives forevermore."

The Milky Way showers the ground with omnipresent light
Billions of stars in a galaxy that fills the sky at night
A cool breeze accompanies the sunshine of another glorious day
As evening chases the sunset, a never-ending game they play

I hate love...
But I don't love hate

Elphee : time, it is the most valuable thing on earth.
age, is just a number.
you are only as old as the women/men, you feel

feyre st. clair : she was the exhale of falling leaves,
and also, the thirsty ribs of winter

Anna Marie Carlson : I would like it if you could give me feedback on a favorite phrase of mine that you've liked.

TJ likes Cadbury eggs & Peeps : I'll share my favorite, "Reading soothes the soul, writing sets it free."

Merdi : " lonely night on the terrace, thoughts of you invading my mind, silent sobs disturbing the night, and with these years I now bind...

Thank you for all your responses, it's much appreciated! Leger~
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