Thursday, September 04, 2008

How Not To Write A Short Story

1) Get drunk first.*

2) Spend three hours every day in front of the mirror intoning your mantra: ‘I am bottling the lightning. James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield are ants in my afterbirth.’

3) You can never do too much research.

4) Try to work out what magazine editors want before you start to write. Study the stories they publish very carefully. Work out their average word count. Work out average sentence and paragraph lengths. Which words appear most? Which appear least? Or not at all?

5) Choose a room in your house for a study. Better still, build a custom-designed shed in your garden. Insulate it, install mains electricity, decorate it in a soothing but stimulating shade of green. Choose the perfect desk and chair. Spend several weeks in stationers and art supply shops choosing the best brands of paper, pens, pencils, notebooks etc. Buy a top-of-the-line laptop and an industrial laser printer. Build bookshelves and fill them with dictionaries, encyclopaedias, how-to-write manuals, Strunk & White, Partridge’s Usage and Abusage, The Writers’ & Artist’s Yearbook, Brewer’s Phrase & Fable, The Oxford Companion to English Literature etc etc. Read everything from cover to cover. Maybe you should paint the walls a perky but soothing shade of blue instead. Or go on a writing course...

6) It’s important to get the first page absolutely right. Don’t be afraid to rewrite it 1000 times. Did I say page? I meant sentence.

7) spelyn n punctooashun r killin creativitey man dnt b a sheap

8) You can never spend too much time on the internet mongboards, dissing published writers. The fuckers.

9) Get a bad crack addiction. When you clean up you’ll have a ton of killer material.

10) Get a life instead, and enjoy it to the full.**

*Warning: may actually work. But not for everyone.
**Recommended.

2 Comments:

Blogger Gareth D Jones said...

Luckily I never read 'how to write a short story' anywhere. I'm sure such an article wouldn't be as informative!

September 12, 2008 9:03 PM  
Blogger filipina42 said...

I love irreverence at 6am! Thanks for making my day:)

September 23, 2008 11:34 PM  

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