I’m a writer of short stories and flash fiction and although new to the craft I consider myself a writer.
I had a head full of ideas but no structured route to follow. I’d read hundreds of books, understood their set-up but still needed that little bit of extra guidance. I went out and picked up a couple of how-to-books to get me going and I did find some useful information, which I put into practice straight away. Then came the niggling doubts of “what am I doing?” or “will it be any good?” or “nobody will want to read this”. Those thoughts are story killers. But, there are some very useful reference books and sites that pointed me in the write direction (← pun intended), that focused on pushing past these thoughts, getting me to start small and keep going. You can see these in my new and existing posts here.
So, I started small. I began writing flash fiction with manageable word limits. I’ve submitted to competitions and at the same time requested feedback for my entries. If I don’t know what mistakes are being made or how the story flows in someone else’s view, how can I improve my writing? I’ve submitted to challenges that purposefully require common writing mistakes as part of the tale and been published in their anthologies. These appear at top of the page and you can read more about them on my writing challenges page.
My experience has taught me bite-sized chunks work. Starting small has opened up other ideas. There is, for example, a flash fiction piece on this site I named Leading Up To… and meant to be a one-off stand-alone story. A bit of writing fun just after Halloween that led to an expansion of the story-line. You can read the first one here and the link for part 2 follows.
I find there is nothing worse than having a somewhat decent idea make its presence known only to stare blankly at the blinking cursor on the screen later that day trying to remember what it was.
I either carry around a small notebook to jot anything useful my little grey cells decide to bestow upon me when I’m out and about or failing that, save those ideas on my mobile phone for later use and write them down when I get home.
At least, I now refer to that little notebook of ideas when I need to take a break from staring at that blank screen. That spark will come…
Okay this isn’t funny any more.