Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tip #4 in Learning Skills to help you become traditionally published

Okay, so you've got your attitude on? 

I have a funny feeling that you are not all, not all, actually doing what my tips have been suggesting you do.  Even if you have, maybe you kind of scribbled down stuff, every which way... 

So just for a moment, have a look at what I am hoping your notebook looks like. 
Magazine/anthology book: name, publication date, overall editor/publisher.
Ads you've noted  (if you're using a magazine of collected stories) that might appeal to you as a beginning writer.

Story One:  Title, Author, (Editor)
Style: (1) the adjectives or expressions you used describing that style,(from previous tips) (2) first, second or third person (from previous tips) (3) narrators: one, more than one,  everyone, no one (from previous tips) (4) why you think the editor chose to publish this story (5) some nice phrases or powerful verbs you noticed in the story, or some other kind of expression that grabbed you either because you loved it or because you hated it.

Story Two: Title, Author, Editor
as above
Story Three: Title, Author, Editor
as above

(And so on, until all the stories in the magazine or anthology of short stories are treated like this by you, the world's greatest writer who can therefore find every good thing and every flaw in every story.)

  1. Now you're going to look at your brilliantly analyzed writing in this notebook, and you're going to have a really fun day or more. 
  2. First, get your notebook in shape, if it isn't.  (This will take more than one day, I think.)
  3. Then, having read every story in the anthology (obviously, or your notebook would not be the brilliantly sparkling work of art it is), I want you to pick a story that has a style you like or hate or in some way react to emotionally. 
  4. From this story, pick a section of substantial length.  (at least a page, maybe up to three pages in published form.)  Make sure the section contains as many of these kinds of narrative devices as possible: passive description, dialog (out loud), pondering (internal dialog), person (first, second or third), action, active description, everything that goes into style (including point of view: most short stories have only one PofV, or they have all points of view.  There just isn't room for two point-of-view characters.)  Look for a section that has as many narrative devices as possible in it.   If the section you choose is only out-loud dialog, don't use it.   I need you to have as much to play with as possible. It would also be fun to choose a section that contained one of those phrases you really reacted to and so wrote down.  You don't have to write the whole section of the story you've chosen out in its published  form, but it would make your notebook complete within itself if you did.  If you did this, you'd have a whole lot of writing in the notebook.  Like this:
  5. Section from Story (your choice, say Two) to be rewritten: (write out the section from that story here):

    Blah-blingle-blah, blahnish, but blah! blah blahed bingling blah.  Blah blah-by blahnik, blahsh, but blah
    buryblah, blahnikle blahn. 

    Blah?  Blah, whatblah?  Blah blaringblah bla-blah-blah, butblahshingle blahness, blahnderblah. 

    Blah.  Blah!
    "Blah, blahity, blah-blahing blahre,"
    blah said.Blah the blah was blahning blahn the blahn.  It was blah, blahr, blary, blain.  Blah blanted to blaing it blahsend.
            And so on until you get to the end of the section.

And now, rewrite what you have picked using your own choice style of narration.  Be good, get across what the writer was trying to say, but also, be loose.  You're good, you've got nothing to prove.  Just write this section in one of your preferred styles.  Write it in the notebook under the section you copied from the magazine or book.

When you're done doing this with one section of one story, decide on another story you might like better, or stick with this one, and rewrite the whole story in your own narrative style.

Good luck, but you don't need it.  You can do this thing.  You really can. Just think of it as a fun kind of costume party.  You're being you, being them, writing their story.  Never, ever publish it, though.  Plagiarism doesn't apply only to exact word-for-word copying. 

Welwyn-on-books.

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