It All Starts to Make Sense…

For the longest time, short stories were the bane of my existence.

Ok, so that may be an exaggeration. But really. Every time a new story idea struck me, it was an idea built for the length of a novel. And when I tried to sit down and write short stories, the writerly part of my brain seemed to freeze.

I’ve always wanted to write short stories. Novels are amazing and I love the intimacy with which you get to know your book over the course of a year or more. But novels take time. A lot of time. And for someone like me, who is still trying to master the art of simply forming and structuring a story, novels don’t provide a lot of practice with putting one story together after another. Short stories allow you to take a story all the way from idea to finished product in a shorter amount of time, providing what any writer needs–repetitive practice. Also, short stories are a great way to break into publishing.

So for months, I’ve known that I needed to work on my short story abilities. Ergo, about a month ago, I purchased Writing the Short Story: A Hands-On Writing Program by Jack Bickham and have been slowly working through the first four chapters. This is not a quick book on writing which I could zip through in a week of late night reading in bed. What I love about this book is its a combination of explanation, instruction, and a workbook. Each chapter requires you spend a couple of hours with index cards and your imagination, going through the process of creating a short story step by step. Its not a high and lofty book of the theoretical. It gits into the nitty gritty, grimmy business of crafting a story.

Today, after working through this book for weeks, everything started to make sense. What Mr. Bickham was saying started to click. I began drawing connections between his methods and what I’ve been taught in my writing program, OYAN. After hearing everything that I already knew, but in a slightly different way, the concepts started to make sense.

Plus, the work of having to write down short plot ideas for thirty different stories is really helping me with my idea paralysis.

All in all, I’m super excited about my progress in writing more short stories. If wanted, I might even post some excerpts on my blog after they’re in existence.

{I wasn’t originally going to post today…my crazy day started at 5:30 and continued through teaching, first class back with school, outlining, watching Gone with the Wind for World Views, and SAT prep, but my best friend vetoed and told me I should anyway. When asked what I should blog about, she responded, “Who cares. I just want to see you and hear about you!… I love hearing about whats going on in that mind.” So here I am, blogging. But only because there’s someone out there that wants to here.} 

{Too bad “my everyday crazy life” didn’t win the poll a couple days ago. If it had I might have been convinced to share Beth Anne’s account of my sleep walking and talking last night…its a pretty funny story.}


2 thoughts on “It All Starts to Make Sense…

  1. Hey Amanda, it’s Kristin Alexander from AC. 🙂

    I just wanted to say how much I love your blog. You are an amazing writer–and photographer for that matter. 🙂 Your writing gives me great encouragement.

    I didn’t vote in your poll, but I do know one thing: write what YOU want to write about. It is your blog, your own little corner to let your brain “fly like the wind.” If you want to write about your sleepwalking story, it is YOUR choice (plus, I would love to hear it :)). I love doing polls as well, but don’t let the results from that “poll” govern what you want to say. 🙂

    I am so glad I have got to hear some of your papers in class. God has truly given you a gift for writing. Keep on, girl! 🙂

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    • Hey kristin! Thanks so much for your encouragement…it really means a lot to me. Its so encouraging to know that people are reading and enjoying my blog.
      And you’re right–you have to write what you need to write. What an awesome reminder. Sometimes its easy to try and cater to people’s demands and not write from the heart.

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