Tag Archives: Novels

Writers’ Group: Short Stories and Metaphors

25 Feb

I almost skipped my writers’ group meeting, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t feeling great, I worked late, and I thought I needed a break. But I picked myself up and went and I’m so glad I did. And yes, having something to write about here was a part of my motivation. Blogging to stay honest with my writing goals. I counted this meeting as my hour of writing for the week, too. Double dipping?

We first talked about the differences between short stories and novels. Short stories are sometimes seen as a warm-up for a novel when they’re very different writing formats and success in one may not mean success in the other. Novels have a lot more room to explore a character or story. A novel is not a collection of short stories and a good short story should not read like part of a novel. Novels utilize the familiar three-act structure while a short story only has room for the third act. In a novel, the subplots often make the book enjoyable and added exciting depth. In a short story, they muddy the message so it’s recommended you have one or none. While a short story may not have the real estate to be deep, that doesn’t mean it lacks meaning. A short story can be very impactful and have a lot of meaning though it is often more implied than a novel on a similar topic may leave it. A short story is usually confined to one location while the majority of novels utilize many settings to tell their story.

The second focus was on metaphors. Metaphors are a great way to emphasize an important concept or object. While often done, not all metaphors are well done and writing a good one can be a big challenge. There are two parts to a metaphor, the tenor and the vehicle. To give an example, in Shakespeare’s famous metaphor “All the world’s a stage,” the tenor is world, the subject of the metaphor, and stage is the vehicle, the comparison. Metaphors are most impactful when they are simple, thematic, original, relevant, and important. Putting the focus on an important concept is, again, key. However, metaphors are most impactful when used sparingly. Consider if it’s a good time to add a metaphor each time and realize that the answer may sometimes be ‘no.’

We had some open discussion after these two topics. One of the items that stuck with me was when talking about introducing characters. It’s important to give a snapshot of the character when they’re introduced. It helps readers visualize your character, see them in the movie playing in their head. If you fail to give a brief snapshot of them, you may be fighting an image in their heads when you add more detail later. This struck a chord with me because I’m revising the beginning of my novel now and I can think of a few characters who aren’t described well in their opening scene.

That’s all for this month. I’m really glad to have learned so much from my fellow writers! Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Second Draft Done?

3 Sep

I think? I think it’s done? It feels so weird to say I finished the second draft after a year of working on it. It seemed like an insurmountable task. I dragged my feet through it. But it’s done? Really?

So what now? What comes next? I’m hoping to get it out to some beta readers for initial thoughts. No one has read this story before. And I’m going to let it sit. Yes, that seems silly after slowly picking away at it for so long, but there are some other things I want to get to. I have a short story almost ready to start circulating. I have some fanfiction I abandoned and want to wrap up. And most importantly, I have my YA novel that needs a third draft and some fine tuning. It’s time to give that baby some tender loving care. It’s been sitting longer.

So that’s my plan. This is a big step and it feels like one, but it’s a big step int he middle of a long journey. Thanks for being here for it and supporting me along the way. You guys all rock and I’m loving the happy-feels I get from you. Love you back.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Small Writers Group: Readings, Poetry, and When to Workshop

2 May

I went to my second meeting of my small writers groups, previously called A Small Group of Strangers Workshop. I’m changing my name of it because these people are starting to feel less like strangers. I really enjoyed this meeting of six and we covered three pieces.

Before we started, our moderator passed around some fliers for prose and poetry reads in downtown Detroit. It was the weekend of Easter (yes, it’s taking me a long time to write this) so I couldn’t attend, but it got me thinking. There are so many different types of readings. I’ve been to a Poetry Slam, a ‘Story Slam,’ and author signings, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been to something that could be strictly classified as a reading. But really, what makes something a reading and why is that better than just hearing the author speak?

You can have readings for poetry, prose, essay, anything really. And it can be combined with Q&A or just author speaking, or only the reading and they can be held just about anywhere (though I feel an independent coffee shop is the stereotype). What kinds of readings have you been to? What kind do you most enjoy?

Our moderator brought a poem for us to critique. Besides helping Nicole with a poem once, I’ve never critiqued poetry before and I wasn’t really sure how to do it. Simply because of that I’m thinking of taking a poem to the group to see what kind of feedback I can get. Our biggest critique was about a line break and how the poem flowed with stanza breaks. Besides that, I wasn’t able to contribute much other than my interpretation of what the poem meant. How do you critique poetry? What kind of feedback is helpful when you submit a poem to be workshopped?

One of the men in our group brought the first chapter of his novel.  As I’m still planning on re-writing my NaNo, this is something I’ve considered doing with this group as well and he asked a question that I didn’t have a good answer to. How much of a book should you write before bringing the first chapter to a workshop? When I started going through my first manuscript with the Novel Girls, I was about 2/3 of the way done with it. With the speed I’ll be re-writing my NaNo, I might bring it in sooner, or maybe wait a little longer, I haven’t decided yet. Is there a good point to bring it in and see if it’s interesting before you commit too much? Or is it best to get through the whole thing first so you don’t realize that something you already had workshopped needs to be critiqued? Does anyone know the right balance?

I hope you’re all enjoying my writerly musings. I love hearing from you.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!