Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Short Story Success from the March issue of Writers Forum

Several people sent stories to me after rEading my column so I'm copying it here in case you missed it. 
 Short Story Success number 29

When I say that I mainly write for ‘women’s magazines, people often assume that all I write is romance. Luckily, that is not the case 
I enjoy writing about love, and no, I haven’t finished that Mills and Boon yet, but I would hate to have to do it all the time.
Both the weather and my mood affect my writing.  I find it more difficult to write about love and romance when it’s dark cold wet and miserable outside, especially when I’ve just been stood up (more on that in a moment). That’s why I enjoy writing for Take A Break’s Fiction Feast.   
To illustrate how varied the magazine is, I took an issue at random and made a brief summary of the stories. The results are as follows.
Three ‘Love Stories’ – one with two pages and another with three pages.
Five ‘Tales with a twist’ – three were one page long, and two covered two  pages.
Six ‘Put your feet up’ stories - one with five pages, two with  four, one with three,  one with two and a one pager.
Two ‘One from the Heart’s.’  - one over three pages and one with two.
Finally there was a Spine Chiller which was two pages long.  
One page stories are usually between seven hundred and a thousand words whilst two page stories hover around the fourteen hundred mark. Longer stories can be anything up to six thousand words so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a length that suits you.
Now a brief explanation of the categories.
A Tale with a Twist covers any story with a surprise or twist ending. It could be a romance, a thriller, a slice of life, fantasy or even crime.
Love Stories are mostly typical boy meets girl, romantic stories.
Stories tagged as Put Your Feet Up vary enormously. Often they are ghost stories, or have some kind of fantasy  element. They can also be humorous or deal with relationships. Sometimes they are surprisingly dark in tone, even violent.  
The One from the Heart category often deals with relationships between family members or friends. These are generally relaxing to read and don’t tackle grittier issues.
Spine Chillers are basically spooky ghost stories. Crime Time stories also crop up occasionally.  
In this particular issue, seventy percent of the stories were written in the third person and two were written from a male point of view.
Hopefully, as you read the above you found yourself thinking,  I can write one of those, or I’ve already written a story that might fit the bill. If that is the case, don’t just think about sending one or two off - do it now. Don’t forget to let me know how you get on (akacatherinehoward@yahoo.co.uk)
Last month I mentioned Della Galton’s new book – The Dog With Nine Lives. I said it was about nine dogs, when it’s actually about a dog with nine lives. Sorry about this, but  I hadn’t read the book at the time (it’s still a great read).
As I mentioned earlier, my mood affects my writing. I joined an internet dating site a while back. Recently a man who looked perfect on paper (don’t they all!) contacted me and I eventually summoned up the courage to arrange to meet him. This was a huge deal for me as I haven’t been out with anyone since my divorce, five years ago.
Of course the swine didn’t bother to turn up. When I tried his mobile, it just rang and rang so I couldn’t even leave a rude message. Over the course of forty eight hours  I went from being on a huge high, with my head full of romantic ideas and possibilities, to feeling thoroughly fed up and deciding not to look for a new man after all.
 While I was on the ‘high,’ romantic stories flowed from my pen but the moment I crashed back down to earth, it became much more difficult. In fact, I’ve been feeling so annoyed I’m thinking about writing a crime story with guess who as the victim. That’s all for now. As always, if you have any problems or queries, or there’s something you’d like me to include in this column, drop me an email.
Next month, Spring will be on the horizon. I’ll be looking forward to those long hot summer days and the story writing ideas and opportunities they bring.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Linda,

    I don't buy Writers' Forum every month, but I always enjoy your column when I do.

    I like the idea of you finding a victim for a crime story in your no-show of a date. I guess that's one of the biggest benefits of being a writer - whatever life throws at you, you can (most of the time) take a step back and think, 'At least there's material in this'.

    Good luck with your writing!