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Short Stories: July 21, 2021 Issue [#10890]

 This week: Don't Let Brief Be Too Brief
  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

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Letter from the editor

Don't Let Brief Be Too Brief

When creating an item in your portfolio, such as a Static Item, part of the creation process is a brief description. You get 90 characters to describe your item. Too often I see this area skipped over with something minimal typed in so the item is created. You're cheating yourself here if you just type something Blah, Blah there.

You want readers to be intrigued and click to explore further, don't you? So this area becomes an area for a hook. Sure it's only 90 characters but it's a great spot to promote your item. When your piece shows up on the public listings with EVERYONE else's items recently created, don't you want potential reviewers to click YOURS?

So consider the things potential readers are looking for, they already have the rating and the genre shown to them, what more do you want them to know? Some of my brief descriptions say the writing is an entry in a contest. Some are just a teaser sentence or two. Some note that the item is a "WIP", work in progress. If my poetry uses a specific form, I often note it there.

Also, as a side note, be sure to choose all the genres, so your item shows up in more listings. *Bigsmile* Keywords are also important, not only for reviewers but for editors looking for items to feature in our newsletters. (Did you submit your item to the newsletter for feature?)

In the end, take the time to really fill out the fields when creating an item, use all the space available for brief description and keywords, they can really help get your item on more lists and ultimately bring more reviews to your inbox. As always, Write On!

This month's question: How do you use your Brief Description area?
How do you choose keywords to expand your audience?

Answer below *Down* Editors love feedback! *Heart*

Editor's Picks

 Pursed Lips  (E)
Sarah learns a new word-Flash Fiction
#2255007 by Grin 'n Bear It!

Excerpt: "Don't purse your lips at me, young lady."

The Meeting  (13+)
Garcia is late and accompanied. First place in Only Short Stories, July 2021.
#2254456 by Beholden

Excerpt: I hit the bell and the man opened one eye. “Thirty-five bucks a night and breakfast in the morning.” I knew what he meant by breakfast but produced my wallet and counted out the necessary. He stood up and unhooked a key from behind the desk.

Strength for Megan   (E)
Strength can be found even when we stop looking for it.
#2252803 by L.A. Grawitch

Excerpt: Most days she had to force herself to eat, but today was different. Her appetite had returned with the latest round of steroids and marinol beads. Megan grimaced as she struggled to down the dried out Angel food cake, knowing the food was doing nothing more than feeding the cancer that had invaded her body.

A Knight's Tail  (18+)
#2208065 by HikerAngel

Excerpt: Everyone hated Sir Merek.

The villainous man had killed Knights numbering twenty, all in the glorious Joust. The first met his end by splinter to the neck, neck punctured betwixt breastplate and helmet. The second found darkest doom as armor failed with a foul crack. The blunted lance had smashed the proudly beating chambers of his bravest of hearts. I couldn't remember the third, nor the fourth, nor a dozen after that, but to a man, strangeness had accompanied every mortal wound the mysterious Noble had delivered.

The Wedding Speech  (E)
Lando rehearses his wedding speech for Han Solo's wedding. ~Dedicated to Star War Fans
#2167566 by Lornda

Excerpt: Lando Calrissian finished buttoning the top of his cape and admired himself in the mirror. Not only was he excited to be invited to Han Solo and Leia’s wedding, but to be the best man was a big honor. One last glance into the mirror, he straightened the flowing blue cape, and exited the room to see his close friend, Han.

Brass & Coal  (13+)
A couple of confidence swindlers have an unexpected encounter.
#2107124 by Blimprider

Excerpt: "Have a look at this!" Charles Dexter Braxton trumpeted, storming into the seedy office like a general entering his headquarters, and tossing a week-old copy of the London Times on James Collier's rickety desk.

Amsterdam Daze  (18+)
I vacationed in Amsterdam ten years ago and it changed my life!
#2254756 by Alex Morgan

Excerpt: I had never been to Amsterdam. I’d wanted to go for years. The lure of accessible marijuana, Dutch beer, and legal prostitution had always enticed me as a hedonist’s paradise.

Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!

Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

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Ask & Answer

This month's question: How do you use your Brief Description area?
How do you choose keywords to expand your audience?

Answer below *Down* Editors love feedback! *Heart*

Last month's "Short Stories Newsletter (June 23, 2021) question: How do you discover a "tell" in your writing?

Northernwrites : Showing is when the writer does all the work to create an immersive virtual experience for the reader. Showing can create varying depths of immersion in the experience for the reader. More specific detail creates a richer experience and indicates this part of the story is important. Less specific detail creates some distance and indicates that part is less important.

Telling is when the writer does less work by putting a filter character/narrator between the reader and the experience. Telling puts less on the page for the reader to experience, and the reading is not immersive. The density of the filter can vary. With a more porous filter, as little as a single word in a sentence may make the difference between telling and showing. With a very dense filter, there may be so little available on the page for the reader to experience that the potential audience is restricted.

Looking for the filter doesn't always help the writer find the telling.

The most extreme case of telling is one where the writer is used as a filter. When the writer only puts references to their own previous experience on the page [in fiction or nonfiction], that may be enough to remind the writer of that experience, but it won’t be enough for general readers to understand what’s going on or the significance of whatever they can see; the audience is restricted to only readers who can be reminded of their own similar experiences to which they reacted similarly, and those readers do the work of creating an experience out of the text. That’s why writers are unlikely to be able to find this kind of telling themselves. It takes an excluded reader or else an included reader who reads like a writer and notices anyway.
The literary term for this writer technique is sentimental writing, or sentimentality. The term does not refer to the subject matter of the text, which can be anything. It’s 100% about the writer's technique.
I wrote a more detailed explanation of this kind of excluding-the-reader telling here: "Writing for an Inner Circle: A cross-pollination between the Star Trek Next Generation episode "Darmok" and poetry.

Thank you for the in-depth and comprehensive reply *Smile* L~

elephantsealer : I discover I have been "telling" my story when I stop and read it over! Heavens, this tale needs a lot of editing!!!!

TheBusmanPoet : I just write. If it has a tell fine. if not, that's the way it is

Lilli ☕ : Showing is about using description and action to help the reader experience the story. Telling is when the author summarizes or uses exposition to simply tell the reader what is happening.

Coincidentally, Jim is offering his award-winning course in July on the very topic! "The Art of Show vs Tell Courses

Jim Hall : Telling is like reading a police report while showing is like experiencing a story in a holo-suite onboard the USS Enterprise.

Livewire, Bride: SWR Forum : My FAVORITE way is breaking the 4th wall- Ive ALWAYS done it, even when I do descriptions for my business endeavors...Problem is, it dont work over and over in writing. I did it in a story I wrote here, were Im the main character and I interrupt in the story as 'the writer.' But like I said, I can only do it once in writing cause I dont want it to be redund...Redu...It that even the dang word? Probably wrong context...Repetitive...(*see what I did there? lol)

Arsuit : If I read my work and it feels like a Wikipedia article of itself, I know I'm doing too much telling.

Alex Morgan : I know when I'm "telling" when I use passive verbs "He saw..." "He heard..." "He smelled..." (That last one can be interpreted differently. *Laugh*)

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