It is inspiring to listen to a published author describe her own journey and provide valuable tips for her listeners. To date, she has sold 30 short stories. Although she is a fantasy writer, many of her suggestions apply to all genres.
On Wednesday, she focused on the title and first paragraph of a short story.
Some of her comments...
- Titles set the tone of the story. They can refer to the character, setting or central message of the story.
- Start with a working title if you can't think of a good title.
- Carry a notebook with you to record possible titles for future short stories.
- The first real line of any story is the title.
- Use the first paragraph to grab the editor's attention. Do not start with the character waking up, a description of the weather or the back story (information about the character, history and situation that occurred before the beginning of the story).
- Imply, do not include, the back story.
- You can't write the beginning of a story properly until you have written the ending.
- Read outside your normal genre for inspiration.
- Other sources of inspiration include drama, reality, books, movies, memories and hobbies.