I finished the first draft of my short story! I am extremely excited and I am sending it to my dear friend who is a brilliant editor this week. Since it’s done, and I’m taking a breather before I dive back into it, and working on some things like building out my Patreon! Here are some things I learned during this first draft.
Your story develops as you go.
I am a notorious planner. George RR Martin can have his garden and he can do his “pantsing” to his heart’s delight. I, on the other hand, need to know where my story is going while I write it. I have been plotting out my novels but for this story, I went completely by the seat of my pants and it was so freeing!
I knew what I wanted this story to be about from the get go. It’s the origin story of one of my characters in the second book, Hagador. He experienced something extremely traumatic that made him who he was, so I wanted to tell that story. I didn’t know where I wanted to start and finish it though, so I just chose a moment and went from there. It worked out very well and I surprised even myself.
I will continue planning my novels, thank you very much.
It took significantly shorter than I expected…
Honestly, I didn’t expect to have this done till the end of the summer. It came in at 5,771 words and I wrote it over the course of around four days. I shocked even myself! I have two more parts to go over the same length, so we’ll see if I agree with this after those are done.
…but story takes up more words than I expected!
The length it took to tell my story, on the other hand, is much, much longer than I expected. I’m telling a character-driven journey story where Hagador starts in one place, has a perilous journey, and ends at another place where he will stay. I thought I’d be able to tell the beginning, middle, and end of that whole journey in one go. I was mistaken.
I do think it’s better now, considering I want to publish it on Amazon KDP and I know there are many series’ on there. So I am breaking it up into three parts and it will be a short story series!
Middles are brutal.
It is such a trudge. I had to get my character from point A, a very exciting, mysterious, inciting incident, to point B, a tense, fun conversation with a very interesting character. In the middle, he had to sneak and run from point A to point B and it became a balancing act between being too descriptive of his surroundings in order to set the scene, and keeping the tension high and the length short to propel the story and the reader forward.
It was very hard! Harder than I expected.
People need fewer visual descriptions than you would expect.
I tend to over describe elements in my story. I can see them so vividly in my head, I want to make sure that everyone sees the same thing I do. I am slowly starting to learn to say a lot with fewer words, using metaphors and similes, as well as clever descriptions. So instead of listing out all of someone’s features in one go, pepper them through a scene and use actions the help. For example, “sweat dripped down across his wide forehead, mingling in his bushy brow.”
Have you written a short story? Tell me what you learned!
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