The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Keeping It Short

          Before I started blogging I wasn't familiar with flash fiction, drabbles, or other forms of very short fiction.  I had seen a few short, short stories that were a sentence or two long, but I thought they were more like jokes or novelties than any serious writing form.  I had seen the mini stories like those in Reader's Digest but I didn't think of those as a form of story-telling.

            When I heard the term short story I tended to think in terms of ten or twenty pages.   That's more my style since I tend to yammer on and on sometimes.  I'm not content with stating things simply.  I like descriptions, lengthy dialog, and prolific pondering.  When it comes to putting things down on paper (or on the computer screen) I probably talk too much.

           I guess I should probably learn the art of reticence.  I need to learn how to KISS (Keep it short and simple).

            How are you with keeping it short and simple?   What do you do to keep from being overly wordy?  Or do you prefer a certain element of wordiness?   Is there a particular form of short writing that you particularly like?



            During the A to Z Challenge Doris Plaster of "Hold my hand"  A social worker's blog presented us with wonderfully crafted stories told in 50 words.  She has now compiled these into Home Sweet Nursing Home, a book available from Amazon.   Doris will be my special guest this Wednesday August 31.




--

21 comments:

  1. When I write short stories, they tend to lack great detail/description. Then again, so do my novels and I always have to go back and add in more. lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. i love short fics especially those fan fiction you find on message bpards some are really good writers

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love writing and reading short stories. I am a woman of few words (YES I AM). My problem is fleshing out stories to make it a novel.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with Jounaling Woman. I like things short and simple so I have to really work get my word counts up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't do short... I just can't seem to get to the point that fast. I wish i was better at it with blogging, but I'm just not.

    On another note... I got a note today from one of my friends that my blog had a virus warning because of something about your blog... She said she'd seen a note and you were aware... in the SHORT term, i've had to take you off my sidebar, but PLEASE let me know when it's resolved--I want to put you back!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I look forward to Doris as your guest, I have been a follower of hers since the A to Z.
    Welcome back.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good question. I find it helps to write it all down, then put it away for a while and then go back an edit and cut and hone and that helps to tighten up the piece as well as shortening it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Short story - cut to the chase.
    Novel- describe the cars, the setting, the drivers and what motivates them.

    Arlee, is it possible to juggle water balloons?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Miranda -- Sometimes the description is important, sometimes not, but I guess the real art comes with knowing which is which.

    becca -- I'm not familiar with the fan fiction pieces, but some of the flash fiction on the blogs is quite good.

    Teresa -- I can certainly be wordy, but I'm often too lazy to flesh out what I write.

    Jan -- If I'm on a roll I don't have much problem with word counts, but I often have that problem of getting rolling.

    Hart -- I know what you mean about getting to the point--I've been working on that. I am trying to resolve the malware issue--not sure what it's all about but I hope it gets fixed soon.

    Yvonne -- Thank you. I had a great vacation.

    Madeleine -- That's probably a good idea to put writing away. Right after I've written something I'm too much in love with it all to let any of it go.

    Roxie -- You've summarized it well. I've juggled eggs successfully, but never tried water balloons. If they were small and not easily popped I'm sure it could be done. The problem with eggs and water balloons is stopping without breaking them. Interesting concept--could be a funny juggling gag.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  10. I rarely (if ever) write short fiction - I prefer long too. The art of the short is so interesting and challenging though!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love short stories! I enjoy getting from beginning to end in one setting. I would like to be able to write short stories as well but I seem to get caught up in way too many words to just say one thing...I'll stick to art over words.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hahaha short answer is I don't. I haven't touched short stories/essays since I left school.

    :-) So glad to be back.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't write short stories but I do write devotionals. Those I keep under 500 words because I want the reader to see it, read it, and then think and meditate and pray.

    What I hope is that the devotional is a beginning for the reader not the stopping point.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Under 100 words and I'm stuck. I enjoy writing the shorter fiction. Too much description and I'm bored with my own story. Maybe it's the ADHD.


    M Beth

    ReplyDelete
  15. I set myself a weekly challenge on my blog called 'Thursday@3', to produce a short work of fiction with some connection to the number '3' - maybe 3 characters, or 3 situations, or a 3-word title - and all with a maximum word count of 300 (the only time I exceed this, the total has to be exactly 333!). It goes 'live' on Thursdays at 3pm (UK time) - sometimes it's interesting re-writing things to get the count down and it's amazing how you find yourself whittling the words down bit by bit - even changing tenses can help!
    It has certainly made me more frugal with my words whilst keeping to the essence of the piece!

    Sue at I Refuse To Go Quietly!

    ReplyDelete
  16. My writing is all over the place when it comes to word counts.

    For me it really depends on the subject or genre.

    The only time I really have had to behave and keep is short is writing for broadcast, where words are set against the clock.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jemi- Keeping things shorts is definitely a challenge for me.

    Rasz-- Words can be fun.

    Misha -- I often have trouble keeping my blog posts short.

    Patricia -- Short devotionals are good to start the contemplation which leads to exploring more words in the Word.

    Mary-- I do like description if it is interesting.

    Sue -- The rewriting part is where the real paring down must come, but I often find it difficult.

    Paula -- Broadcast or newspaper writing is an excellent place to learn about keeping things short.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  18. I keep cutting my stuff to the bone, and I find that shorter is crisper, more effective, and memorable.

    Btw, Lee, sent you an email again. Could you check it out?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Lee ! I love the drabble (100-words , give or take 5) ... it's my favourite fiction piece (at the moment)... it's the first type of fiction I wrote !

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Arlee!
    I found you at the Campaign. We share the contemp/mainstream group. See you around. ; )

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hmmm. I only write novels -- don't seem to enjoy writing short fiction. Still, my novels tend to have some spare prose that I often need to embellish when revising. So...I wouldn't call myself wordy. Some stories just take longer to tell.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee