So, how much do you know about July 4, our Independence Day?
Did you know that John Adams lobbied for July 2 as the day to celebrate?
In last week’s post lauding THE BIG FANG charity anthology (filled with 22 short and endearing stories, one of which is my “Firebug”), I promised to do a post on the steps I follow when I write a short story. This is from my archives and still works for me today:
The first thing I do is put a copy of Anne Lamott’s ABCDE structure of a short story within eyesight.
Action—Start with something happening to draw the reader into the story.Background—Provide context for readers to understand how the characters came to the current situation
Conflict—The characters must want something they don’t have and work to achieve it (sometimes against each other)
Development—The 70-80 percent of the story describing the characters’ struggles to get what they want. Each time it appears they have the goal within reach, give them something more difficult to overcome until they reach the climax
Ending—What happens after they reach their goal. In a romance, the hero and heroine realize their “happily-ever-after”. In a mystery or thriller, all the loose ends are tied up. In a literary story, the ending may be rather ambiguous.
I merge Ms. Lamott’s guidelines with writing tidbits I’ve cobbled together from how-to workshops and essays. This is what I’ve learned, a lot of which applies to novels as well:
Make the reader care about your main character. Snappy dialogue, beautiful settings, or surprising plot twists won’t keep your readers turning the pages if your main character is boring or unlikable. They need someone to root for.
Mark your calendars. National best-selling and Agatha-nominated mystery author Kaye George is scheduled to be
Lyrical Pens’ guest on July 20.