Tag Archive | story

Will you READ it already?!

This past week in my life has been almost a literal whirlwind. In short, I was dropped from the nursing program at school and that sent me on a quest to find a new career goal between runs to the business office, professors, financial aid, and fighting off waves of sadness. Currently, I’m thinking education and I’m stuck between English for secondary ed or elementary ed. I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need to decide at this second, but that’s hard.

When my teachers first told me they needed to dismiss me, one thing they brought up is that I mentioned to someone I like writing. Obviously, I love writing.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t write the blog. However, I kinda dismissed that suggestion because a) my school doesn’t have the creative writing program I would like and b) it’s too competitive a field for a career and c) I’m too nice of a person.

All fine and good. I move on.

Then I discussed  my mermaid paper with my professor, Dr. D.  In spite of his doubts on my topic, he likes it. It has actually rather impressed him and Dr. D has, once again, mentioned publishing. I’m kinda like, “Okay, whatever. That might be cool.” I’m still staring at the chapter three section and trying to figure what to write exactly. Or even outline!

Moving on to announcing my dismissal on facebook and telling my nursing partners. (Obviously, some are shocked, because as someone put it,  I dominated the tests.) Someone in all of this asked me if I’m going to change my major to writing.

After that, I posted Just Trust Me with the hopes that people would read it. I got one person liking it and two people at least clicked on it. But no comments otherwise. Nothing.

Then I go back for this final nursing thing about administer withdrawal to protect my GPA and such. Blahblahblah. Anyway, I just mentioned to my teachers that I was writing a paper comparing mermaid folklore across the world. They asked me how I came upon this idea and I explained that I wrote the story for the writing contest at my school (no clue how I placed yet) and I decided to write it as a novel. I wanted to do some research about it first though. They thought it was awesome.

Then the provost of my school (less than 800 students) has never met me before. No big deal. But she recongized me AND she made comments about how I have really made a difference in the TRiO writing center and that Dr. D  has said that I write really well.

I only write for the student newspaper at school and to be honest, I’m not pleased with how my articles are coming out. I really wish I had someone to help me just iron out the little things and let me brainstorm with them. But I keep hearing about how good of a writer I am, or if I’m going to go into writing, but you know what?

But no one has read my fiction!

I think I write good fiction. I have come a long way in the eight years that I’ve been writing. And while some of my stories may not be up to the standards I would like, and I am a little on the slow side when it comes to editing, I really like the stories I have.

I even randomly started reading the ending of one of my stories that I haven’t touched in over a year because I randomly thought of it.

Everyone else knows that I write fiction too. Almost  everyone understands that this is a passion of mine.

But no one reads it!

For once, just once, I want someone who has read what i have written in fiction to tell me that I’m a good writer, or ask me if I am going to look into writing, or something like that, I don’t want these people who don’t even know I wrote a novel to be suggesting I write as a career. Because for all they know, my writing stinks!

*end rant*

As it is, because I mentioned that I want my mermaid story to become an novel, I have now promised my nursing department a signed copy of it when it is published. I suppose it should be if, but I prefer to be optimistic.

Just Trust Me

I’ve talked a lot about my mermaid story. I’ve talked a lot about how I’m writing it into a novel, and how I think writing short stories to develop characters help.

Blah blah blah.

I’m going to now let you read it.

Here is my story, Just Trust Me. I hope you enjoy it. If anyone does care, I did submit this to my college’s writing contest and I have my fingers crossed.

Read Just Trust Me Here.

What I consider before writing any story.

I’ll be presenting a workshop on creative writing at my school in about two weeks, so I came up with these things that I always look at before I start writing.

What is the goal of the character?

I don’t say plot because that implies that I know the plot. I’m finding that I typically cannot pinpoint a plot until I finish  and I can look at the whole picture. But my character needs an initial goal and a plan.

How does goal and plot differ? In Shad, one of my stories, his goal was to win in the intragalatic race. As such, he worked towards that and kept struggling to make it through the race. However, the plot actually turned out to be Shad trying to break away being a sweeper and establish himself in the real world, something I didn’t even realize until I looked at the finish product and saw that, based on where the story ended, that had to be it.

What is the ending?

I will not start writing a story until I know the ending. Period. Because either a) I’ll never learn the ending or b) it’s not a good story. Either way, I need to have a clue on the ending.

Now, sometimes for me that ending is vague. Like, I know they are going to run the aliens off of earth, but I’m not quite sure how. Sometimes it’s quite concrete, like, the story will end with Kayla comes to the new home and Shad meets her.

Character’s Point of View (POV):

That seems strange. Well, of course I’m going to tell it in the character whose story I thought of. However, when I began to systematically think about the POVs, I realized that sometimes the obvious character isn’t the best.

For example, I’m going to post a story this week where a mermaid (Avi) has to convince her sister (Nessa) to join an underground liberation movement. Instead of writing it from Avi’s POV though, so Avi keeps having to tell Nessa everything that Avi already knows, I wrote it from Nessa’s POV, which ended up making a very interesting story.

This time also makes me realize whether I really need to tell it in one or two or five people’s POVs.


This goes slightly into the POV, but something I sometimes decide later and sometimes I don’t even decide until after I pick up the story. In general, I will write in third person. However, some stories call for first.

(Then you have the annoying stories that you write that you intend for it only to be a short story and so you write it in first person only to have the characters tell you its a novel, but you don’t want to write it in first person the whole way, so you need a new way of presenting the information without rewriting the whole short story/prelude.)

Character’s personality:

I think this aspect is a fundamental part of any story. However, I have discovered through a long and tumutious road that a personality doesn’t just come usually. If it does, it is usually perfect. As such, I automatically want to have a clue about how this character acts, is she/he shy, determined, stubborn, brave? And what is the character’s weakness?

Where is the story best told?

Generally, this is obvious. However, not always. And sometimes the setting doesn’t make a difference. But it is something to think about.

I should probably mention that I don’t look at tense. Typically, I’ll write in past tense. If I happen to start writing in present, it’s by mere accident but usually because I hear the voices so well that I just write as they tell me. (No, I am not schizophrenic.)

All the more reason why to keep writing.

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

The biggest challenge in writing.

Rewriting is a challenge. All writers know that. The problem is that it takes so long.

So, I wrote a story in October. Edited it. Edited it on paper. Then I sent it to Critters to be critiqued by a bunch of other writers and asked an English teacher friend of my to critique it too. The English teacher saw it before critters and she thought it was pretty good.

However, Critters came back with a few comments. And we’re not talking minor problems here either.

  • The character motivation doesn’t make sense.
  • The POV character’s arguments look like straw.
  • The only action is in the beginning, and that hardly makes it worthwhile to read.
  • The POV character doesn’t seem real.

That’s only a few of them, along with a numerous grammatical mistakes.

So I started rewriting it. I

I took all the critiques, highlighted the important things, and fixed those. Then, I made my paper outlines of all my problems and made sure I got bullet points of all the things I want to include and how I knew the characters better.

However, in order to edit this story in a more satisfactory manner, I basically need to completely rewrite the middle scene. This is hard. I did it yesterday, but it was so hard, because I don’t debate well, nor do I have anything to debate with. My brother’s method of debating is repeating the same arguments time and time again, because he is convinced he is right, until I just get so tired of it that I say I’m done. Although he thinks he knows how to debate, he really doesn’t. Anyone else in my family doesn’t debate.

So I’m hoping that I came up with a suitable and believable arguments. Unfortunately, this is for the writing contest at my school and I figured out today that I have no chance of getting this sent out again before the writing contest is over. :(

That’s what makes it so hard. Sometimes, even though you don’t even realize it, the story doesn’t make sense and if you don’t have anyone to check that for you, well, that’s a problem.

When I began writing, I didn’t have anyone to look at my stories. Well, I only had my brother, but he was so young that it didn’t count. That was okay though; I needed the encouragement to keep writing then I think. But when I got the point that I turned out pretty good stuff, in my opinion, then that is when I need the help of others.

So what kind of experiences have you had with rewriting?

Ethical Dilemmas

I recently got my story, Ethical Dilemmas, submitted to Critters, a critiquing place, and already, I have gotten back two critiques. Personally, I think this is awesome in a depressing sort of way. I thought it was really good. So far, other people think there are some problems.

As such, because you are my loyal readers, I am opening it up to anyone who has a chance. Although I’ll get all the Critters’ reviews back by the eight, I’m going to keep this available through the 15th, just because I won’t get around to seriously editing it until then I don’t think. As such, this post will stay sticky until the 15th, and after that, I’ll take down the story and you’ll have to wait until the official version comes out.

This has now been edited to remove the story. It’ll come back in its completed version hopefully in January.

How to Kill the Prisoner.

So, perhaps this is a bit controversial, but I found out today how they put someone to death.

  1. First, they put them to sleep. I actually didn’t catch which drug they use, but it’s because by the time they start to die, it actually hurts a bit
  2. They give pancuronium bromide as a muscle relaxant. This actually paralyzes the diaphragm and is used for hunting monkeys in Africa.
  3. They give plain, boring potassium via an IV push. That means that they take the potassium and just shove it into the person as quickly as they possibly can.

The person will actually die from the heart not being able to handle the excessive potassium and throwing itself into a dysrhythmia. Then, the person dies and all is done.

The Burden of Writing

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.
Z.N. Hurston


I’ve never really cared about how long I wrote my stories, although I always had ever intention of writing novels. I like the idea of complex plots and I wanted to write them.

My first novel turned out to be a little too complicated at about 300 pages. My second one came out to be a much better length, closer to 160 pages. (about 90,000 words). Then, I got stuck and I can’t think up any more novel plots, probably due to college’s heavy load.

Instead, I began writing shorter stories. My first story (Giant’s Wife) came out to be about 40 pages. A bit too long for much of anything. The second one was When Darkness Swallows, at about 25 pages, as have my next two. (Both Time of Dragon Slayers and Miles’ Love.)  Which is about 10,000 to 15,000 words, short enough for a short story by some people’s standards.

But I’m not writing short stories. Not really.

See, I”m so used to being able to have a couple scenes to clean up everything. It’s the idea that I need to resolve all of my story lines and questions. When I wrote my novels, I gave myself two or three sections to finish everything up.

I can’t do that in short stories.

Short stories really need to have, at most, one scene to tie everything together. And not a long scene at that. We can’t have much with short stories to resolve, because short stories are meant to have only one plot line anyway.

That is the problem I’m having with my short stories. In When Darkness Swallows, I have the climax when he rescues Emin and then force the reader to read three more sections about what happens to the reader. In Miles’ Love, I was going to do the exact same thing, until I realized that this shouldn’t be the situation, so I changed it up.

How did I realize this? I looked at my other story that came out really well, Time of the Dragon Slayers. In that, I have the climax, even more of a climax, and then resolve everything in two pages. Tada! All solved. (Well, not everything. There are so many spin-off stories I can do that I probably won’t do, but it solved the main plot.)

So here is basically what I think a short story should be outlined (roughy)

A) A couple scenes that involve building the scenario, learning the characters, ect.

B) The climax, in one or two scenes.

C) ONE resolution scene.

Now, for a novel, there is a totally different formula that I will not go into today. Maybe someday, but not today. And hopefully with this realization, I can make my stories better too.

Just a reminder too. Question of the Week answer is due by Saturday night.

six tips for make good stories

To be honest, we want things quick and the quickest way to gain information is by having it in lists.  I’ve been meaning to write this post all week but I’ve been too busy to do so. Now I’m not, so here we go.

1. Tension: All stories need tension. It’s tension that keeps the reader reading. Tension doesn’t necessarily mean that the hero must have a gun pointed at his/her head every time you break. It just means the reader is asking constantly, “But what about this?” “HOw will he/her react to this?”  So long as you always leave a question, you always have tension. However, the true skill is when the reader asks the question that the writer has never written down for them to ask.

2. Action: This kinda goes along with tension except on a different level. It’s one thing to have constant questions bouncing around constantly. It’s quite another to have the character do something about it. So make sure your characters DO something.

3. 3-Dimensional characters: Characters have to make sense to the reader. Meaning you, the writer, have to listen to them. I’ve written several posts on good chararacters in Five parts to any Character, More on Creating Good Characters and Character Weaknesses.

4. A convincing  plot: Some, very famous authors can convince readers to suspend logic when reading a book. However, unless you’re writing humor, it’s probably safer to have everything make sense. (What I’m thinking about right now is when I decided to change a character from a naive good person to a greedy scheming individual.

5. just Enough:  I admit, this tip will be of no help. However, all stories need a balance. Few people want to read stories about brains constantly being splattered on the wall. Few people want to read stories about people constantly having sex. Few people want to read stories about people constantly fighting, constantly running, constantly going to the bathroom, ect. Everything needs a balance and you don’t need to show us every little nasty thing the person does. So the guy has some anger management issues. But maybe we get the point after the second time he blows up for something small, and a few comments about him going to anger management class (again) and his girlfriend leaving him because she’s tired of him blowing up at him. We don’t want to know this after he’s blow up in every scene from page 1 to page 150.

6. Stop at the End: I know that this seems obvious to some people, but stories need to stop at the end of the story and sometimes, especially for new writers, that’s difficult to find. Don’t drag out the ending just because you don’t want the story to finish. My sister keeps asking me if these two characters at the end of Shad ever get married. My answer is I don’t know. That wasn’t the story of Shad. Shad’s story is him getting off the ship. So I don’t need to tell anyone that he stayed at that job for ten years, made it significantly safer, married Kayla, had five kids, and his rules became the guidelines of all mines across the galaxy. So stop when you’re done.