How hard can it be to make my writing exciting?

Posted: 29 January, 2012 in writing
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A friend has suggested I enter a writing competition. It’s for a short story up to 2000 words. This poses several problems for me, which I only discovered after sitting down to give this writing assignment a go.

1) I can’t write short stories.

2) I’ve forgotten how to write any sort of fiction.

3) 2000 words really isn’t a lot to work with when writing a story.

I have entered competitions before and I don’t remember it being this hard before.  I think it’s because I’ve worked in PR or journalism for so long it’s hard to stop that boring news voice from taking over my keyboard.  I have to learn all over again how to get creative and how to make my writing exciting. At the moment, I’d settle for something even slightly interesting.

In looking at ways to get my creative voice back I re-visited a few old writing magazines. These are always a great source of “How to” advice and pointers that will hopefully get me writing a winner. I’m also going to re-visit some of the short-story collections I have here. I have a whole new respect for these writers who can create something compelling, intriguing and page-turning in so few words.  How do they do it?  I’ll also take another look at the winning works of past competition winners and see what it was that made their entry stand out from the rest.  While I haven’t always agreed with the judges on their chosen winner, there’s no mistaking that each writer wrote a short story with all the requirements – a good (sometimes fantastic) idea, clear writing, the story was wrapped up cleverly at the end, and, most importantly, there was enough humour, intrigue and interesting characters to keep the reader reading until the last sentence.

There is definitely a lot to learn about writing a good short story and I guess the best way to learn is to just write something, give it to my trusted proofreader and friend Jane and hope she doesn’t tell me it’s too terrible for words.


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