Posts tagged ‘short stories’

Waiting

 

Twelve days. It’s been twelve days since I’d seen Jared. I didn’t want to worry. To follow after him even though he told me to stay, to constantly look towards the bridge he crossed over, hoping to see him racing back over to me. I didn’t want him to think I didn’t trust in his strength, his intellect. Him. So I waited, just like he said.

But it’s been twelve days. Nearly Twelve whole days.  287 hours, 47 minutes and 32 seconds.

I dug the heels of my bare feet into the ground, barely wincing as the rocks scrapped at my skin. It gave me something to focus on, something other than the lack of his presence beside me. I’m not clingy, I swear. I just didn’t realize how nice it was to have someone around, other than me, Lucy and Kay. And how worried I’d be when he was gone.

“Still waiting?” Kay leaned over my shoulder, pressing a cool hand to the back of my neck. His fingers were wet, as if he dipped them in the river. He must’ve been trying to catch fish with his bare hands again.

“Yeah,” I said. Read more…

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Because I Used to Like You

Today I took a hammer to the necklace you gave me. Also, the earrings, the shot glass and that dumb little mirror that I can barely see my face in.

I couldn’t yell at you. I couldn’t tell you how much I hate you right now (well, not so much after the hammering). I couldn’t tell you how I felt about everything you didn’t say.

I made my choices and you didn’t like them. You came up with the consequences for my actions. You decided to ignore me. Maybe a little part of me deserved that. Maybe since I pretty much left you without explaining why I was going. It wasn’t an actual boyfriend-girlfriend breakup where I’m like “Its over” and you’re like “Why” and I give you some cliche answer like “I must travel far far away to find my true self that has been lost.”

It was more like I just detached myself because it wasn’t right. I guess I didn’t leave you an explanation. I supposed I didn’t tell you why. But I think maybe you’re smart enough that you can figure out that we have different life paths. Maybe you should be able to JUST PUT IT TOGETHER that you created the divide between us by becoming someone who didn’t ever spend a casual Friday night in, someone who wouldn’t ever talk to me seriously like I need to be talked to, someone whose life revolved around a culture that we agreed didn’t have much to offer us in the end.

And so I ignored you and we became acquaintances again. Not angry acquaintances, or so I thought. But then your anger came out, months later, when I talked to your friends about the excessive smoking and doing nothing at all with your life. They talked to you and you pinned me as the instigator of your reform committee.

If only you knew it was only because I used to like you. I thought you were great! And then you changed on me. Or your mask fell off. It doesn’t really matter because, even though part of me was mad, most of it was because there is a part of my heart that is still soft for you. Not because I love you or am not over you, but because what we had, our relationship and those moments were more than just a little fling. More than just the average relationship. Or so I thought.

Today, I just had to let all my anger go at you. I know yelling at you won’t do anything because it isn’t the right way to approach you. See, I even know the right way to approach you. I also know that I want to be a good person and that this is my anger I need to deal with, not yours.

So I took a hammer to it all. I also broke that stupid glass your friend left at my apartment, the one with the elephant on the front, for good measure. I enjoyed breaking it and throwing it in the trash. Part of me wanted to put it in a card and send it your way but I know that I’m not that angry. That’s the hurt coming through. The pain of someone who left someone else for her own good but didn’t explain. The pain of someone who hates being hated for trying to do the right thing by talking to your friends. The pain of someone who has a history with you.

Maybe someday we will talk. But for today, I broke it all. Then I threw it away.

I feel a bit better, actually. I think I might be ready to blow on another dandelion and make a new wish because I can stop looking back at my old, bent up and squashed ones that didn’t work out.

 

 

 

Picture Prompt – Canoe

Introducing: this week’s picture prompt!

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Here are a few questions to jump start your creativity: Where is this picture taken? Who owns the canoe? Why would a person go to  such a desolate looking place?

The Art of Short Stories: Eight Steps to Writing a Moment

Short stories leave you satisfied with the unknown. They give you a moment and you take away a feeling and then you are left to wonder. What happened before the story started? What happens later?

But you never know.

Short stories are beautiful and yet I hate them. How can an author just give me a feeling and then leave me helpless to figure out the fates of the characters in my imagination? It’s rather cruel.

But I love short stories. Maybe it’s because I have a creative mind. Possibly I like them because they are quick to finish and I rarely quit writing halfway through. It could be that I like when I only get a little bit of information.

Wait, that sounds familiar. *Works through brain to find old files.* OH. Yes.

Short stories are a bit like novels. Novels (in theory) only give you what you need to know, when you need to know it. Except, novels eventually give you almost all the information whereas short stories…don’t.

I guess I like the suspense of not ever really knowing what happens.

What did you say? You want to try to write your own short story?

Oh yes. You do.

You have another question? How do people come up with ideas for short stories?

Well, I don’t know how everyone else comes up with ideas for their stories.

What I can do is tell you is how I write my short stories with some nice, easy steps.

Step One: Constantly be on the lookout for short story ideas. Observe everyone and everything. Write any catchy lines or odd backstories down (I have lists on my phone, iPod, my computer and a random notebook.)

Step Two: Let ideas simmer in your mind. Think about them and apply them to situations. Oftentimes, I’ll have a vague idea of what I’m going to write about but not know much more than that.

For example, in my last post I knew I wanted to write about a Skype Funeral but I didn’t know how it was going to turn out until I actually wrote it. I kept the idea in my mind all week and considered why so many people would be virtually attending a funeral over Skype and decided that a celebrity must be involved. I didn’t really consider much about my main character or anything else.

Step Three: Keep it simple. This is not a novel you are writing. It is a short story where you are conveying an emotion, a moment. You want the reader to feel fulfilled yet wanting more.

Don’t get all into everything. If the background is quite imperative to telling your story, do describe it, by all means. But it is not always going to be necessary to explain where exactly your character is.

If you need to explain that your main character has red hair in order to convey your moment, then do that. But remember, make sure that you are conveying an emotion to the reader. Allow the reader to put some pieces together for themselves. As a reader, I love to have an ending to ponder or details to put together.

Step Four: Focus. My story was about Skype Funerals. It wasn’t necessary to explain why my main character watched quite so many of them, so I didn’t. It would have taken the focus away from my main idea and put it on my character, which makes the story a tug-of-war for who gets the most attention, which is not what a short story should be.

Step Five: Write it all in one sitting. This helps the story flow.

Step Six: Rewrite. I have a story I’m working on that I have six different drafts of. SIX. I am so frustrated because I just cannot seem to get it right. But I know that the rewrites are worth it because they are helping me get a feel for everything in my story so I accurately represent my moment and give the reader that emotion.

Step Seven: Edit and have other people critique it. Sometimes other people can point out something that is missing in your story.

Step Eight: Have fun. Short stories are fabulous.

Ready to write your own story? Good. Go! But, do remember that everyone has their own way to write so every one of my steps might not be perfect for you. You might just use one idea from my steps and that’s okay. Just write 🙂

What are your steps to writing a short story? Do you easily find focus in a story? What helps you convey a short story’s moment to readers?

 

 

 

 

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