From the Editor:
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
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
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