Category Archives: regular

Words On The Page

StoryADay May is well underway. Hundreds of people are writing. Many of them are sharing their stories.

I’ve read tons of stories in the past three days, some stunningly good, some OK and one of two just … raw, shall we say?

But all of them we’re complete. And all of them were words on the page that their writers can look at and reflect on and learn from.

Over and over again, people have said some flavor of “I’m so glad I wrote today”, “it’s not perfect but I feel so good for having done it” or simple “ha-Haaaaaa!”

It reminds me of why I do this to myself. There is nothing like the feeling of writing. There is little that makes me as happy. There is nothing really that I’m anywhere nearly as fulfilled by doing.

So I’ll be writing a story again tomorrow. How about you?

Don’t Make This Your Book’s Summary

I saw this book recommendation today:

“A coming of age story of a hard working young woman that must battle with her emotions…A must read”

And you know what I thought? 

“Yawn.”

That summary tells me nothing about how the book will make me feel or how it will relate to my life, or what genre it is, who wrote it, when she’s coming of age, or what she’s working at,  or why she’s battling, or what emotions…nothing!

When writing your book’s summary don’t say it’s a ‘must read’. Show us why it’s a must-read. 

Summaries are like headlines. A great one will make everyone want to click that link. A boring one? Well, life’s too short baby, and Twitter is overcrowded. So next time you see a summary that makes you reach for a book, or click through for the sample, stop and take a look at what the writer did; why the summary works.

And yes, it can be done in a few words.

The Short Form Is Hard…

“The short form is hard. You need to have the scope of a novel on a canvas a fraction of the size. Your story should be something a reader will turn to from time to time in the same way that people listen to certain songs before they get ready to go out or fall asleep. You’ll need to be economical, and resist the urge of parable or one-act morality play. You need a beginning, middle and end, and a last line that resonates long after the story is over. “

— Max Dunbar, 3:AM Magazine, from a review of Sarah Hall’s short story collection “The Beautiful Indifference”