Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for #writing a short story

When story ideas pop in my head, I jot them down in hopes of creating a wonderful novel. But as my list has grown tremendously, I realize that there’s just not enough time to devote to all in a way that would give them justice.

Enter the short story.

I’ve created a few short stories here on the blog, but for whatever reason I limited my time to only work on novels. Well that mindset changed this year.  As I review my list of ideas, I’m handpicking those that would be best served as a short story. Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story is yet another welcomed tool to help with that.

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Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most influential writers of this century, passed down a simple list of rules for writing a short story, though I think they can be applied to longer narratives as well.

He did say that Flannery O’Connor broke all his rules except the first and that great writers tend to do that, but I believe his famous eight rules can provide a skeleton to writing fiction.

And I think that this is what’s really important in art. A foundation. Simply by reading or following rules, or by taking creative writing courses, but it’s also crucial for the artist to make his own decisions. The moment rules start feeling like a cage, you should escape. It’s like strolling through a garden and picking the flowers you like. If you absorb too much or if you simply follow rules (someone else is choosing what flowers you should pick)…

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Anne R. Allen’s Blog: 25 Must-Read #Tips on Plotting from Top #Authors and #Editors

I’ve gone through old blog posts and found gems that slipped my mind.  This post from Anne R. Allen is certainly one of them.  Great advice and wonderful insight for every writer to consider.  Enjoy!

Photo: Deposit Photos

Melanie V. Logan

I love Anne R. Allen’s blog.  She provides a wealth of information helpful to writers and bloggers.  If you haven’t checked her out, stop what you’re doing and run right over. 🙂

This week’s tip comes from Anne R. Allen’s Blog: 25 Must-Read Tips on Plotting from Top Authors and Editors. These tips and quotes have been helpful for me while I write my first book.  What may have made sense in my head about moving from one scene to another or situation to another, it may not translate to the reader.

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To #Show Don’t Tell or Not to Show Don’t #Tell, That is the Question

An oldie, but a goody. Which side of the fence are you on?

Melanie V. Logan

In the course of honing my writing skills, I have come across a number of posts and articles on “show don’t tell” like this. Most support the idea, but there are some that don’t. For someone new to writing or trying to improve, this can send a confusing signal – like it did me. But in researching and trying some exercises, I have a better understanding on each and their purpose in a story.

I finally got a chance to dig into my second draft. Going back over a couple of chapters, I could clearly see that I was doing a lot of telling with little showing. What I wrote got

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The Future of #Writing: Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Humans in Deciding the Fate of Manuscript Submissions?

This quote from Georgina Cromarty’s post about writing and artificial intelligence practically blew my mind.

“Some writers will see AI manuscript evaluations as a blessing since it takes the subjective human out the loop.

…And some may see it as a threat.”

Yes, I’ve worked in the IT field for 20+ years.  Yes, I understand what the ones and zeros are all about, and the inner workings of software and hardware.  Yes, I know technology brings about modern convenience, and can spout an answer to the hardest equations with speed and ease.  But with all of that, do I trust it wholly?  No!  Here’s why.

Mankind believes computers are smart.  The reality is that technology is only as great as the humans that make it.  And of course we know that humans are bound to mistakes.  So, technology is too.  Nothing is perfect.

So when I think about artificial intelligence playing a role in evaluating manuscripts, a smile crosses my face because it means the process of submitting and getting a response will be shortened.  But then my smile fades, and my head cocks to one side like a questioning puppy.  What algorithm is used to decide what’s publish-worthy and what’s not?  How often is the artificial intelligence maintained and updated for optimal performance?

I get it from a productivity perspective. There’s a lot of reading and publishers want to watch their bottom line.  Technology can help, but in the end will it really?  When people read, they have the ability to experience feeling and emotion.  Can technology do that?  Of course not.  It can only do what it is told (and even then it’s not the real thing). So an award-winning manuscript may never see the light of day because it didn’t meet the criteria of a computer.   Not sure I like that.  What are your thoughts?

Check out the rest of  Georgina Cromarty’s post on other interesting takes on artificial intelligence and it’s place in various industries.

10 Ways To Develop A Unique #Writing Style

Just like snowflakes, no two people are alike.  And that includes writing style.  But how can a writer stand out?  lists 10 ways writers can develop a unique writing style.

Writer's Blog

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Creating and refining your own unique style of writing is important, particularly in the modern Internet age, where a high content turnover means readers are constantly in pursuit of something original and clever. However, it’s often difficult – especially when you’re just starting out – to fine-tune the way you write and embody the qualities that make your voice distinct and innovative.

So how exactly do you tease out those qualities? How do you then apply them to the actual process of writing? Here are ten hot tips to get you started today.

1. Use experiences as a springboard

Start with what you know. If you begin your writing process in a world that you’re familiar with, it’ll generally be much easier for you to slip on your characters’ shoes and immerse yourself into the setting of your story. In fact, J. K. Rowling herself based one of her best-known and most complex characters, Professor Snape, on her chemistry…

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#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: monthly hop for #authors who want to learn more about being authors

One can never know too much when it comes to writing.  That’s why resources like the Author Toolbox Blog Hop are essential.  It gives writers a way to learn, share experiences, provide support, and bounce ideas off each other.  Information on how to sign-up for the hop is below.

Raimey Gallant

Author Toolbox Blog Hop: A monthly blog hop for authors who want to learn more about being authors. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join. #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #amwriting

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join.

The Rules:
1. Theme:This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful. Sharing of your experiences as it relates to these topics is encouraged but straight journaling with no take away for authors is not what this hop is about. Can you post genre-specific content? Absolutely. You have an idea for a post that doesn’t fit the parameters I’ve outlined, but you feel in your heart…

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The 4 Ps of marketing for #authors (#IWSG Blog Hop)

After months (and sometimes years) of hard work, an author may be ready to take his novel to the next level.  That’s where marketing to the masses comes into play.  But any old type of marketing just won’t do.  It has to be properly considered and planned.  That’s where Raimey Gallant’s post comes in handy –  the 4 Ps every author should use when marketing his/her prose.

Raimey Gallant

The 4 Ps of Marketing for Authors

I’m dating myself, but I used to want to have Angela Bower’s job. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Angela was a character on a show co-starring a very young Alyssa Milano. For those who are familiar, Angela was the boss, am I right? And Angela was an advertising guru. Then I grew up and majored in marketing, and my dream was shattered. (Well, one of them. I also wanted to be Nancy Drew, Indiana Jones, and Jessica Fletcher. Still working toward that last one.) Back to the day I learned that there was no longer a market for Advertising Specialists, and that advertising is just one small piece of the puzzle. What puzzle, you ask? It’s actually more of a pie chart, and it’s called the ‘4 Ps of Marketing,’ or the ‘Marketing Mix.’ Below, I explain how each piece of this puzzle forms the holistic view of…

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