Posted by: L. E. Barnes | February 9, 2010

The Write Stuff

In a previous post I mentioned that I had started a writing correspondence course through Long Ridge Writers Group, based in Connecticut. I finally got the second assignment–a short-short story (750-1000 words)–completed late last week. Just coming up with what I felt would be a workable story idea for such a brief piece of fiction proved a huge challenge. After writing out page after page of character sketches and plot ideas, I finally came up with a very brief fantasy story. Alas, as brevity does not come easily for me, it went well over the prescribed word limit, so I’m sure the first piece of advice I’ll get from my mentor will be to trim it down! If brevity is the soul of wit, it would appear my wit lacks a soul… An author I once read about admitted that he didn’t feel his brain was “wired” for writing short stories, so he stuck with novels. I may be in the same boat. Furthermore, with the deadline rapidly bearing down on me, I had to settle for sending in what I had managed to hammer out, with really no time for revision. And revision is one of the most important parts of the writing process…

The next assignment calls for developing a short nonfiction article. I’ve already written several short pieces, such as a few speeches I had done for my local Toastmasters club, and I should be able to use one of them as the basis for an article. So this time I won’t be so pressed to get something in at the last minute. The main challenge should lie in improving the style and diction.

As one of my college professors liked to emphasize, writing is hard work! Now if I could just get my English 111 students to grasp that…


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