The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, August 22, 2005

Short Story ideas

Question for Steve. If someone is going to follow your 52 stories per year schedule, do you have any suggestions re: generating ideas. I'm not really asking (or maybe I am) the perennial question - where do you get your ideas?

I've written 3 or 4 novels (none published yet), but I think it would benefit me to do the 52 story per year regimen for at least a year. And what I'm running into is that I feel that I tend to write and have novel-length ideas.

I start working on a short story, and it quickly becomes a novella. But, just curious if you have any method that you use for yourself if you're suddenly invited to contribute a short story, the deadline is very near, and you don't have a single idea for a story top of mind at that moment.

Jeffrey Rutherford
There are at least three different answers to your query, Jeff.  But first of all, let me congratulate you on even CONSIDERING taking the 1-year challenge!  You are made of stern stuff.
1)  Ideas.  Give yourself permission for the ideas to be lousy.  Believe me, poor execution can make a great idea suck, and great execution can find gold in a pile of literary horse droppings.  the point is to finish the stories, not create classics.  The quality will be discovered almost incidentally, along the way.  You have to learn to take your "governor" off.  Keep a dream diary to get familiar with your creative flow.  Write down your top fifty movies and books, find a side character, and tell a story about them that wasn't in the original work.  End a favorite story differently, or begin it differently. 
2)  Stories have no intrinsic length.  TREATMENTS of stories have intrinsic length.  It's all discipline.  Begin with the end of the story already known.  Choose a single incident from the story world, and build your work around that.  Treat this as a specific exercise--I can't say what will trigger yoru undrstanding, but the discipline of keeping the sotry under 2500 words will do you a world of good. Don't worry if the first five or ten or twenty suck!
3)You are complicating the process.  Most of writing is just work.  The magic is discovered along the way.  Read ten times as much as you write, read one level 'up" from your intended result, and have fun.  No stress.  The stress will come later, believe me.



Mi Michigan House Cleaning said...

Exciting blog. The site out did itself and will be
back! I love surfing the internet for blogs that are
exactly like this blog.
I beg of you, just check out my ri rhode island house cleaning blog.

Anonymous said...

You will not have ed hardy clothes to worry about any Christian audigier discomfort, and best of all; most are ed hardy shoes designed to fit your body as the ed hardy outlet little bundle of joy grows allowing ed hardy Bikini you to wear the maternity clothing more than ed hardy hats once.The development of holiday maternity ed hardy swimsuits clothing has coincided with the changing attitudes of ed hardy clothing women regarding their bodies. Today's ed hardy glasses holiday maternity fashions are ed hardy trendy, stylish and sexy, fitting today's ed hardy iphone cases fast-paced lifestyle Now, women ed hardy dresses are proud to show off their baby bump while wearing ed hardy Jackets striking and classy maternity clothing.

Edwin said...

scrub m65 kamagra attorney lawyer body scrub field jacket lovegra marijuana attorney injury lawyer 14k gold ed hardy 14k yellow gold

Kamagra said...

i am reading your histories and i think that are very interesting, maybe i would share my histories with you, i would like to read one of you novels.
Caverta Silagra