Published Stories

There is a lot of advice out there for writers. Almost everyone who is a writer has advice for other writers. Me included. One thing that isn’t said often enough is that you have to be careful about what advice you follow. I don’t mean that some advice is bad in general, rather that not all of it will apply to you.

 

Dean Wesley Smith, a very prolific and varied writer,

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Does Length Matter?

How long is your story? How long should it be? Is a novella better than a novel for a first time writer? Should you write something as epic as War and Peace or keep it under 100k words? Such weighty problems that some new writers obsess over are really simple to figure out once you realize what the real questions are.

First a brief discussion of the different story lengths. These are rough estimates and can be flexible depending on the market you are submitting to.

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Outlines: Yes, No, Maybe

Back in high school, I remember arguing with my teachers about how to take notes and outline papers. I get it now that they were just trying to teach me a method of organizing my thoughts and I really shouldn’t blame them for not realizing that my brain doesn’t work in the standard outline form. I made it through high school and on into college where the professors no longer cared how I took notes just so long as my papers were organized and I could answer all my test questions.

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Use Your Own Words

In my role as and Educational ASL Interpreter, my students have learned that I make a darned good tutor when it comes to their English papers. And a frustrating one as well. What causes this particular set of feelings is the way that I tutor them. Word by word, without ever telling them what to say, I pick apart their sentences until each one is grammatically correct. Once one sentence is correct, I send them off to fix the rest of the paragraph on their own.

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This and/or That

If you ask a bunch of writers about how to find time to write there are two basic camps: Butt In Chair (BIC) and Steal Minutes (SM). If you go to any writer’s group and ask a general question like “How do you find time to write” you’ll get a nice smattering of about equal weight of the two camps. No one will deny the other camp’s position and they’ll be quite polite about it.

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