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Wanted: A short story

20 June 2006
Posted in: Scratchpad | 8 Comments

How difficult can writing a short story be? Well, either it is very hard or I am just useless at it! It was over three months ago that I was asked to write one for an anthology of short stories for children, with the theme “technology”. Today, two discarded half-attempts later, why is my screen still depressingly blank?

Short-story-expert Marie’s formula makes sense to me—define your characters before you start off, throw in a crisis in their lives, and get things over and done with in a short span of time.

But the long and short of it is this: I cannot do it! It just will not happen. Okay, I got my characters—I thought I did, at least. And I got my plot—based on real life forum drama experiences ;-)—and then it just fizzled out. Twice.

Somebody once said that a good writer can write a thousand words on anything. While they were talking about non-fiction, many other fiction writers do say that they force themselves to write an x number of words everyday. Somehow that doesn’t work for me. Call it unprofessionalism if you must; I prefer to call it writer’s block! 😀

I’m no Annie Proulx (was reading her short story Brokeback Mountain; more on the movie some other day, as I do not feel sufficiently articulate right now to do it justice) that I can make a story span twenty years, taking the protagonists from teenage to near-middle-age, and make readers cry in the bargain. Her short story was made into a critically acclaimed movie. And all I ask for is one crappy little 3000-word wonder that will fill the hearts of teenage brats with joy! Is that too much to demand?!

~PD

8 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    I’ll make the tea, shall I? 😉

  2. Meena says:

    Hi Payal!

    Love your blog. Have added you to my Blogroll, hope you add me too. BTW, I’m a freelance writer as well, nice to meet you! :o)

  3. Marie says:

    I should write a short story about forum drama! Then you’ll see it’s easy.

  4. Kat says:

    *poke* Just write it however you want! You could always go back and condense later… maybe you just need to write out everything all detailed first in order to make things clear?

  5. Alpana says:

    Totally agree with Kat–just write as much as you want first and then worry about the word count. Actually just start writing, the restof it will take care of itself.

  6. Nimish says:

    Hah! After all that, you will just sit down and write it out in a couple of hours, and send it in with three seconds left on the deadline. Mark my words. Has it not been said “nothing stimulates creativity like the approach of a deadline”? Come to think of it, no one has said that! ‘cuse me while I go away and copyright it under an impressive pseudonym (Something like ‘the Reverend Hezekiah Goolix’)

  7. Niklas says:

    If you got characters, and events then you just need an angle… just like reporters are always talking about.

    Angles are closly related to points of view… so if you write it out of the internet spirit’s point of you, that will be an angle.

    You could also write about server logs found 10 000 years by now that time’s archaeologists. You could write it as if they entered an egyptian tomb with lots of stale air… but were infact entereing an airsealed server room where nothing has been touched for millenia.

    Or maybe even maked it a diary of one of the future archaeologists, where he writes about the forum posts they recover from the old server harddrives. I think that is a fully developed angle… you could start with a diary entery like this

    September Fourth 11 021,
    Sandra, after manydays I am finally making an entery. I wrote last time that I would not write again until we had found something. This evening we did… after following copperwires for another two miles, we finally stumbled on what appears to be the server room.

    Me hopes this helps! Sandra would be the name of the diary, if you wondered…

  8. Kat says:

    Is this what your diary’s name is, Niklas? 😛

    (Good ideas!)

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