I’ve been working on sending out manuscripts lately. I entered one short story in a fiction contest and I was a bit dismayed to see they’d extended their deadline. They accept more than one entry, so perhaps I’ll send in another one.
Last week I started reading One Great Way to Write Short Stories: A Step-by-Step Approach by Ben Nyberg. Copyrighted in 1988, and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH, the author gives the first writing assignment on page 49.
So I came up with a few ideas of events from my childhood and decided to write about an experience with my best friend.
The second exercise is to consider this person’s character traits and tell the story over again from my best friend’s “standpoint.” Page 62.
I enjoy this kind of activity. I took time out to change the clock battery just after I told my husband I was going to blog. He saw me sitting quietly. “I thought you were going to blog. Why aren’t you typing?”
“I have to think before I write.”
He smiled and made some kind of joke. He’s finishing his sermon, so his mind is fully engaged in one room, while I transcribe my thoughts onto legal pad papers across the way from him.
Sometimes when I ask him to edit my manuscripts, he lets me know he hates doing that sort of thing. One – he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Two – he’s busy with his own stuff. Three – he doesn’t see why anyone would want to write.
He reads magazines and Bible commentaries and stuff on the Internet, but I haven’t seen him read a fiction book for a few years now.
I probably read three novels a week. I squeeze in a few pages here and there when I’m busy. When I’m less busy or I need a break, I’ll read a few chapters at a time.
A writer needs to read other people’s works.
I took out a book from our local library, The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, It’s the Third Annual Collection, copyrighted in 2002 and published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC; A Forge Book; New York, NY.
I was grateful that the editor gave a small synopsis of each story. One or two sounded too graphic for me. Someone I care about told me she feels more sensitive inside the longer she follows the Lord. I understood. Maybe tender is a better word; I don’t remember her exact phrasing.
Anyway, when I hear the news and people are hurting other people over religious differences, cultural differences, skin color, or selfish reasons it brings tears to my eyes. I have to pray and then put my mind on positive things so I don’t stay distraught and not be able to function.
Years ago, I stopped listening to the news because I was getting depressed. I’m able to handle it better now because of God’s help. As I’m reminded in Neh_8:10,(ESV): Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
I enjoy reading and writing and they inspire me to contemplate situations characters go through. I can determine what actions seem plausible in various circumstances.
Maybe my husband sees writing as a chore – that’s okay. If everyone was the same, life would be a mess. We need variety to function and not to be bored, bored, bored.