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Improbability is in the Details
Abra Staffin-Wiebe's Journal
Notes on Writing Short Stories 
9th-Jan-2014 04:08 pm
The best kind of story to write is the one that nobody else can.

In a short story, while editing, try pointing to what each sentence does. (If each sentence has to do something in a short story, writing a novel can be a relief!)

Editing exercise: cut out passes of 500 words until all that's left are the bones. Then you know exactly what to strengthen and what to de-emphasize in the actual editing process.

It's not all nuts and bolts. Strive for a little bit of beauty on the micro level in your writing.

Before killing your darlings, pause to consider why you love them, and why they don't work. This may result in other changes.

Things an editor might be considering:
* Is there a tie-in promotion?
* How about hyperlinked stories?
* Might make bonus short stories exclusive to the print version of a novel, to reduce value of bootleg online version.

PLOTTING

Assign a different colored pen to each character while outlining to see where characters are dropping out.

Use hanging plot post-its to rearrange/add as needed.

Consider the "second-stage rocket" - another exciting plot thing introduced in the 2nd act to look forward to / write to, kind of like the "sex at 60 (pages)" convention.

Don't pull your punches; *do* have the worst thing happen (if it makes sense).

Start with a problem, have the character try to fix it, and have it all get worse.

When brainstorming, discard the first couple of plot options you think of. Or go to the first plot option, work in a reason why that won't work, go to the next, etc.

Try using sharpies for scenes to indicate characterization, setting, plot (multiple colors for multiple plotlines?), foreshadowing. Makes it easier to see how it's balanced.

Figure out what the major revelation scenes are and work back to what readers must know for that to be effective.

(Based on Worldcon notes.)
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