Wednesday, 7 July 2010

A Season For Short Stories

There's a season for eveything. A season for Dr Martens and a season for Birkenstocks. A season for novels. A season for short stories.

The weather has made me change my working habits. I find it impossible to work inside on my laptop when the sun is shining, and taking the laptop out is not a good option as the light is not good for the screen and the battery runs out quite quickly. So this is my new method.

1. The evenings are used for brainstorming and writing up rough first draft of short stories that I print.
2. In the morning I read through the print out over breakfast in the garden and make notes.
3. I carry on in the garden or move to the beach where I go through the story more thoroughly, adding and taking away things. Writing new paragraphs in my note book, answering questions about plot and character etc.
4. Sun fun sun fun. (unfortunately quite often interrupted by my day job)
5. When the sun goes down I type up my changes and print it again.
6. When the sun goes up I do another read through, aloud this time in the garden after breakfast. (Not being half as embarrassing as my neighbour on the other side of the fence who talks to her dog!)
7. Using up the battery power and abusing my laptop screen with sunshine I do some final editing in the garden and then I send it off to someone for feedback or if I feel super confident I send it off to a competition or a magazine. If I decide to go for feedback I'll repeat some of the above points ...

I can already feel that I'm becoming a better novelist by writing short stories. If I worked as hard on every chapter as I do on every short story I'd be a bestseller :). Short stories take so much concentration and focus. You can't get away with any waffling! I've decided to dedicate a year (started in late February) to the art of the short story before I start another novel.

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