What’s your advice to help someone get started in writing short fiction, poetry, or web serials?

Hello, December.  It feels like just yesterday that you knocked on my door to ask all kinds of probing personal questions about my writing goals and objectives for the year 2013.  And here we are one year later, and now you’re back asking for a progress report?  Please go away!

Does this conversation feel familiar to you?

Seeing less available writing time for 2014 due to a work promotion, I’m contemplating making the switch from stage plays and novellas to short fiction, poetry, or web serials.  I feel like I need to increase the frequency of “accomplishments” or “milestones”, which in my mind translates to completed works of writing rather than contributing to two or three longer works of fiction.

Although I’ve been writing fiction regularly for the past six or seven years, I’ll be honest in saying I’ve never really investigated methods to get started in writing shorter forms of fiction.  And other than plugging a few keywords into a search engine, I’m lost where to begin.

Below is a small sample of some of the questions in my head for several weeks now:

  • What online resources are available to help explore short fiction, poetry, or web serials?
  • What, exactly, is this Friday Flash notion I’ve read about for the past few years?
  • Besides haiku, what forms of poetry exist, and what resources exist to help improve writing them?
  • Where can I see some examples of web serials?

So what’s your advice to help someone get started in writing short fiction, poetry, or web serials?  Are there other forms of writing not mentioned here that you recommend one focus on?


Going to Camp

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting into the Flash Fiction arena for some time (though my wordiness tends to work against me in that plan).  I’ve also been toying with the idea of participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, though I can guarantee that I do not have time to write 50,000 words in April.  For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking of ways I could do both – participate in Camp and also start writing Flash.  Yesterday, Grant Faulkner, Executive Director over at the Office of Letters and Light, posted his plan to write 30 Shorts in 30 Days over on the OLL blog.

Flash Fiction Camp?  I love the idea!

Looking at reality, I wonder if how I can actually do this.  I mean a story a day starting April 1 when I’ve written barely a dozen stories in over a year?  How crazy am I?  Add in the fact that baseball games for the team I manage start on April 1, the garden needs to start going in on or about April 1 and I have crazy work deadlines in April and really this is probably a bad idea. Nonetheless, the more I think about it, the more excited I am getting about going to Camp and starting this project.  I have the ideas to accomplish it, so now it’s time to start writing.  And, as the subtitle of this site says: just keep writing.

I am going to spend the next few days putting together prompts, much like Grant suggested in his post.  I’ll likely use a lot of the Today’s Author Write Now prompts, but I have others as well. I am not committing to posting each and every story on my blog right away, but my goal is to put them out there in some form during the month and/or after April is done.

So who else is participating in Camp this April?  What projects are you starting, whether for Camp or not?  I’m still not positive that I haven’t lost my mind in considering this, as there’s no way I can be writing a flash fiction and flashing signs from the third base coach’s box on the baseball field, but I’m going to give it a go.  Are you in?  Let us know what projects you are looking forward to starting. After all, putting it out there for all to see makes it more likely we’ll get started, right?

Oh, and if you have any tips for being successful with writing flash fiction, share them, too!


If you are doing Camp, find me on the site – my username is Lousy Writer 13. Looking forward to writing with everyone!