Monday, May 29, 2017

100 WRITERS _____ Look out for the All In! Snack Fiction Anthology, coming out very soon + tips for reworking your short story

NOTE: Find out about my 100 WRITERS project here.

I had a great time reading the entries for the recent All In! Snack Fiction Competition. I also helped to select the ones that will be published. The stories showed a lot of passion, creative intent, and awareness of the short story genre.

For those who are looking to improve your story further, I've picked out four areas that you could focus on. You can read about this below. Not all of these ideas might be relevant to your story, so do take some time to think about each one.

The All In! Snack Fiction Anthology will be published by July 2017, in conjunction with the Youth Month. Look out for updates on the official Facebook page.

Really thrilled to be part of this!

— D


by Don Bosco

1. Signs of life
Stories work best when they make us appreciate the human experience from a new angle. What’s the best way to achieve this? By setting up sensory proof.

How do things look in your story? Provide vivid visual descriptions.

How do things sound? Smell? Feel? Taste?

Find the details that will trigger in us a strong sense of being there in person. And of being physically affected by the experience.

Be convincing.

Make us believe your story actually happened.

2. Stakes
If something is important in your story, make it doubly so. And explain why.

Something dangerous? Double the risk. Double the consequences. Double what it will take to survive this.

Even if your story is about a boy taking care of his pet beetle, make us feel that this is so significant, it has to be front page news.

Make us care, worry, feel anxious.

There are always other stories buried inside a newspaper, which are often missed or ignored. Let other writers work on those stories.

You are a star writer, and your story has to be the main thing on the front page.

Practise staging your story like this. What changes would you make?

3. Flow
Like how a camera moves in a film to direct our attention, you should find ways to guide your readers’ attention from one story segment to another. Be deliberate.

This creates a sense of flow, and makes your story a more satisfying read.

You can break this down into two different elements: Moment and Momentum.

A Moment is like a distinct scene in your story. Make the Moment as important and emotionally distinct as possible.

Momentum is how you flow one Moment to the next. Create contrasts.

So break down your text into Moments, and fine tune each one.

After that, work on building Momentum, from one segment to the next, until we reach the end of the story.

Orchestrate the reading experience.

While you're editing, use # to separate each Moment, so you can really focus on one at a time.


Like this. A Moment.


And here's a new Moment.


You get the idea.


You can remove the #'s after you're done editing.

4. Fun
Did you truly enjoy writing this story?

What would it take to make you enjoy this story even more?

Take a chance and put in those elements.

Dare to have fun.

Save your safe and boring ideas for school homework.

When writing stories, celebrate your unique imagination and let us be entertained by your writing. Make us want to read more. Better still, make us reach for our wallets and scream, “Take my money! Just let me buy your book! Now!”

What to do
For each of the four areas above, make a list of ten things you can do. Get friends to read your story and offer suggestions. So you should have at least forty ideas to consider. Some might just involve changing a word or two. Some might require moving paragraphs around. Take some time to experiment with the possibilities.

Happy writing!


. . . . . . . . . .

MAGICIENNE is my recent YA novel
co-authored with celebrity magician and author Ning Cai
Published by Marshall Cavendish

Synopsis: Fifteen year old Angel Morning Lee grew up in a children's home, never knowing her parents. Her only escape is performing tricks with an old magic set. One day she is given a scholarship to Modern College, an elite school for girls. There, she becomes close friends with Pammy, a strange schoolmate who has a disturbing secret. To fight the abuse of power all around her, she must find the courage to follow her own heart.

My book IMAGINE ALL THIS gives you 
the creative tools to use your imagination and 
create your own stories, read about it here.