Vision: A Resource for Writers

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From the Editor:

Challenge Yourself

By Lazette Gifford
Copyright 2008 by Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved

Over at Forward Motion in May, we're starting the 'Story A Day' challenge.  SAD is pretty popular, even though people rarely actually write a story every day for it.  It is an interesting way to get quite a few short pieces written, though.  The challenge includes a number of links to story prompt sites and the author has to use something from one of them for the majority of the stories.

It is a challenge to use one of the cues and come up with an interesting story to go around it.  It is also a way to break loose from your safe little writing norms and spread your wings a little so you can get a taste of something different without committing years to the work, like you would for a novel.  Challenges are sometimes the nudge our imaginations need to look beyond the edge.

Short story dares are also great exercises in learning how to write short, concise stories -- though sometimes they can still get away from you.    While writing short stories is not required to become a good novelist -- I know many published authors who write little or no shorter fiction -- it can help you learn how to write concisely, which in turn can improve novel writing.  Novelists sometimes tend to wander, knowing they have the space to take their time, when a shorter scene might have more impact.

But this is really just about challenges in general.  It's easy for writers to fall into safe little worlds where they write what they enjoy, and what's safe, and never step outside the walls to look at something new.  It can be entertaining -- for the writer, at least.  And it's easy.

Easy is rarely good.

Every now and then it doesn't hurt to challenge yourself to try a new genre, a new story length, or a new setting.  We all learn by experimentation.  Be willing to keep experimenting, and you never know what new ideas might come your way.