Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Life in Non-fiction

Whenever the writing bug isn't as pesky as it should be -- bugging me until I write something long --sometimes I go for little bits - like short story little bits.

Chicken Soup for the Soul
If writing novels or long stories is your thing, then writing a short story is going to be difficult. Having to think about dialogue, background, imagery and plot in 1500 words or less, is a challenge that many people have a hard time with -- me included.

However, this is where you have a chance to work at your skills. By writing in a few words, what would normally take a paragraph or two, we learn to activate our passive writing, condense our wordiness, and perfect our action scenes to precision.

Of course, what I'm talking about mainly has to do with fiction. And going from long fiction to short fiction is tough; it's almost like using a completely different side of our brain.

But, let me throw a wrench into this mix: what if you wrote a short piece of non-fiction?

If the thought terrifies you, it shouldn't! Now's the time to expand your repertoire of writing genres. Non-fiction -- something I'm working on more often -- is fun. It's real, it's now, and it's a world of fantasy I don't have to create ... because it's already here.

A great way to get your feet wet, and a fantastic way to gain writing prompts, is to visit the Chicken Soup for the Soul website and check out their submissions page, or their "Possible Books" page. This tells you what they are looking for, what they want to read, and what they want to print in their next books.

There are usually at least 5 different subjects one can write on. Not all of them will be something you know about, but probably one or two. Use this to your ability and write something good.

Try one of their topics today. Use it as a prompt to dole out 1200 words, edit it, and take a good look at it. If you like it, and it seems publish-worthy, why not send it in after a day or two? If you think you need to master your non-fiction craft a bit more, set it aside, and write something else.

The point is to write something that you're not used to writing, in a style you're not used to writing in. This will stretch you, teach you and make you learn more about writing well than ever before.

2 comments:

  1. Heather,
    Good push for me to stretch myself. I'll make sure I check out the two links you posted!

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  2. Awesome Amy! Thanks for reading. :)

    ReplyDelete