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Writing advice...

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The Amstor Computer:
A very particular question here for any writers on the board: How do you get from an initial image, or the kernel of a story to a fleshed-out short story?

I've been having a great deal of trouble with this recently, and I've got a file full of story fragments that I don't seem to be able to do anything with.

Any suggestions?

Come up with a beginning, middle and an end.

You should be able to visualise these cornerstones from the conflict in your story.

Then just beef up the bits in between with characterisation, good dialogue and appropriate pacing to suit the action.

Sounds obvious - but don't just think about it, get started. Sit in front of your PC or get your pen out - nothing ever got wrote in anyone's head.

As soon as you begin, and even if you have only a vague idea, things will happen.


Hi BB -

First off, have you tried combining the disparate short story fragments you've got into one?  The combining of lots of funky elements can work really well to spur on your imagination.  Just boil the ideas down into 1 or 2 sentences, then arbitrarily stick the sentences together in any order and try to come up with a plot that encompasses both.

Second, are you actually coming up with stories, or just scenarios?  The first has a quality of movement, i.e. hero or whatever changes or his situation is changed by the story: the second is just an interesting starting-point.  

For me, short stories tend to come all at once - beginning, middle and end - and the work that I do thereafter only fleshes out the world and the characters.

There're some good tips by Andy Diggle in the "writer submissions" bit on this site - if you're trying to write for publications I'd say his tips are good no matter what the medium.

Also, the scriptdroids website is worth checking out - particularly the archives.  (It's also where you're more likely to get attention from Rennie, Spurrier and other "real" ie published writers, especially if you put up some examples of your shorts that you're having trouble with)

Hope this is of use

JamesLink: Scriptdroids

If you're stuck try to think 'why' things are happening rather than 'what'... You've got an image, and idea... why has this come about? Who are these people? What can happen next? Hopefully, plot will start to develop.

If all else fails buy a glove puppet and start talking to it... 'What's that Socko, I'm wasting too much time on the internet?'


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