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Short Stories: November 06, 2019 Issue [#9851]

 This week: Writing Your Way In
  Edited by: Jay -- Thank you, ANON!
                             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

Writing Your Way In

Starting a story with no idea what happens next? It's easier than it sounds!

Word from our sponsor

Writing.Com presents "Writing Prompts", the app with an endless supply of creative inspiration for writers!
Get it for Apple iOS, Android or Kindle Fire.
Creative fun in the palm of your hand.

Letter from the editor

I talk a lot about plot and construction, but I also really like short stories as a place to explore, and I do mean that--exploration in the sense of having no idea where the thing is going, and of being content with that feeling. I feel like there are a lot of different approaches to writing fiction, and none of them are right or wrong, but we can learn a lot from trying something new.

Some folks are gardeners, some folks are cartographers, some folks are hikers, some folks have greenhouses and some folks are really into tiny succulent terrariums and all of them are good and fine, everyone does things a little different. Planning is useful, but not everything; the amount of planning can vary, and some people need discovery or structure or both.

Sometimes one of the easiest ways to begin a story is to simply write your way in with as little information pre-planned as you can get away with. It won't work for every kind of writing project, and that okay--for me it's usually a starting point or an exercise to get me thinking about some aspect I want to improve in my own work. I might start with a single unusual sentence. Typically for me, it's a sentence with an inherently contradictory statement, or a bit of worldbuilding I want to chase after.

The important thing is to start with one image or idea that can then be expanded upon--contests here on Writing.Com can be great for this as often the prompts for a given contest will be something open-ended with a lot of room to build upon. This month's official contest, Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest , for example--What can you make of one simple, evocative quotation? There are some possible suggested shapes within the lens of these words, but there are any number of directions in which you can take them.

Freeing a project from the constraints that it must be finished, or that it needs to conform to a specific size or shape when it's complete, can be a very liberating process if you have been at this short story practice for a while, and it's useful if you are still trying to build your short story practice.

Have you tried any exploratory writing? I'd love to hear what you like to do.

Until next time,
Take care and Write on!

Editor's Picks

This issue's picks!

 One Hour Forward, One Hour Back  [E]
A short piece inspired by the Writer's Cramp prompt, 11/4/19.
by hullabaloo22

Second Chance  [13+]
A chance sighting in the park makes the last fifteen years a lie.
by Mara ♣ McBain

 Path to the Throne  [ASR]
She wasn't supposed to be King, but she would rule.
by Medie

Madhouse  [13+]
Encountering beasts in an abandoned house.
by Jatog the Green

Dancing the Night Way  [13+]
Short story for Weird Tales Contest for June
by Writing NaNoWrimo

Dead End  [13+]
Death is a point of no return we're all heading toward. In many different ways...
by Casthavian

The Queen of Drag Was Snagged  [E]
The Writer's Cramp Contest Entry for 1/6/18 WORD COUNT 811
by LynnPenCakes

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Word from Writing.Com

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Ask & Answer

Reader Comments from "Multiple Paths

Sand Castles Shopgirl 739 writes:
I do agree with your suggestion to revisit old writings. I do it all the time. Even the stuff from my free write group. I have always been surprised at the "gems" that can hide in all words that can be amassed on our pages.

Absolutely! I mine my old stuff for new ideas all the time--and it's always shocking how frequently it works!

Got a question, comment, or a topic you'd like me to look at in future issues of the Short Stories Newsletter? Let me know!
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