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Exercising those writing muscles

Writing is like any other skill: Some people naturally have more of it than others, but regardless of the baseline, everyone gets better with practice. Short stories are a great way to practice elements of writing: brevity, structure, showing not telling, action.

Short stories are my nemesis.

I've never had much luck doing them. Everything starts expanding, sub-plots develop, backstory and character motivation, ad infinitum. I have propped up a couple of novel plots though, so there's that.

Driving into work one day, it hit me; a way to narrow my scope and practice my craft. The premise is simple: Take a favorite song, any song, and write a story that led to the creation of the song. I set a few boundaries to help rein me in as well.

  • The story must be written in one sitting. No taking three days to craft 2000 words.It may take 30 minutes, it may take two hours, but it has to be done all at once.

  • It should encapsulate one scene

  • No backstory, no character description. Everything must be delivered through dialog, or action/reaction, or emotion.

  • Try to capture the spirit of the song. Failing that, warp it completely.

  • Experiment with different voices, points of view and styles.

Because my wife is named Jenny, I chose "867-5309 Jenny, Jenny" as my first attempt. She smiled at it.

I call them Story of the Songs.

Meet the Author 

I wrote this, so that makes me an author.

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