Tag Archives: Michelle Rene Goodhew

Author Tip: Is Short Story Writing Something You Should Do?

Why Short Stories

You may not have considered short story writing before, but here are some reasons why you should. This article will also tell you how to go about crafting a short story.

Short stories are for everyone. They are fun and easy to read as well as easy to write. Short stories can be read in one or two sittings, they grip the reader’s attention and don’t let go until the end. They are popular. Remember all of those story ideas that just weren’t developed enough for that novel? These are perfect little critters to get you started writing short stories.

Maybe you are a new author just starting out trying to finish up that first great book. Or maybe you’re an experienced author working on a sequel or at best trying to dream one up. As a writer you need to keep busy and stay focused. Writing is a business, unless you truly believe you’ve only have just that one great one in you, you should be working on ways to expand your business of writing. Here are some reasons you should consider short story writing.

  • You will add more books to your brand.
  • You will improve your exposure.
  • You can write them fast.
  • You will improve your skills as a writer.
  • You will publish more often and have more books out there for consumers.
  • You have the potential to reach more people and make more money.
  • You will experience satisfaction from completing new works.

What Is Short Story Writing All About

What is a Short Story

A short story can be from 1500 words to 30,000.

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JK Rowling’s Phoenix Plot Outline

How to Develop a Short Story

First, you start with your idea. Now you take the idea and map it out with an outline. Don’t be too serious at first, let the idea guide you.

You develop your short story the same way you do a traditional manuscript. Flesh out your idea with an outline. Start by separating your idea into three acts, the beginning, middle, and end. Each act has a beginning, middle and end as well. These can be chapters. And each chapter has a beginning and middle and end. These can be scenes. By writing each chapter as it unfolds like the flow of a book, you have the power to keep your story strong and your readers engaged.

Story Outline

If you have trouble setting up your outline, the steps below are ones that I refer to and find helpful.

The First Act:

  1. The hook: the first page in the first chapter catches your reader’s attention and convinces them to read on.
  2. The inciting event: the first event that befalls in your story. This is what kicks everything off. What event starts the ball rolling in your stories plot?
  3. The key event: this is what drags your protagonist into the plot. Your character has to be pulled into the mess. This is where your character becomes officially engaged in your story.
  4. The first plot point: marks the end of the first act and the beginning of the second. This is where everything changes for your character. The first act sets up your characters ‘normal’ world and introduces the important characters, the settings, and describes the stakes. The first plot point should rock that normal world. Everything changes and your protagonist will be forced to start reaching to the new status quo.

The Second Act:

  1. The first half of the second act: Your character is going to spend the first half of the second half of the book in reaction mode. For the next quarter of the book your protagonist will be fighting to keep their head above the water.
  2. The midpoint: Your stories second major plot point. This is where everything changes again. But now your protagonist is prepared due to the last shake-up and is ready to start taking action rather than just reacting. This belongs smack in the middle of your story.
  3. The second half of the second act: After the midpoint your character is going to start going on the offensive. They are no longer willing to let the antagonist simply bring the fight to them. They will start implementing their own plans and throwing off their insecurities. This continues to three-quarters of the way through the book and the beginning of the third act.

The Third Act:

  1. The third plot point: this is your final major plot point that changes everything. Whatever happens here is going to force your character to a low place. They will have to analyze their actions and motivations and get down to the core of their own personal character arch. This is where they will start to identify their own destructive or ineffective mindsets and start rejecting the personal traits that have held them back up until now. Begins at the 75% mark.
  2. The climax: this is what it’s all about. Your climax is where your story finally gets down to business. This is the point of the whole story. This is where the conflict must finally be resolved. Although events will be heating up all the way through the third act, the Climax Proper won’t begin until around the 90% mark. The climactic moment itself won’t hit until the very end, perhaps a scene or two from the end of the book.
  3. The resolution: caps your story with finality. This important scene is the exhale to your climax’s inhale. Here you give readers the opportunity to see how your character will react to the events of the climax. How are they a different person than they were in the beginning? How has the world changed around them? How does their future look from here?

 

How Short Stories Can Boost Your Writing Career from the Creative Penn

Get into bookstores

Write short stories and publish them with companies who are already producing titles that you can find in bookstores. There are plenty of short story markets that are available at Barnes and Noble. To find them, simply go down to your local shop and ask about them. The assistant will happily direct you toward their magazine rack or anthologies.

Expand your presence on retail sites

Now that bookstores are digital, retail space is infinite. So how do you stand out in an infinite bookstore? By taking up the largest percentage of that bookstore as possible. The more room you take up, the more likely someone is to stumble onto your work.

Short stories can help fill out your presence on retailer websites. While a novel can take upwards of a year to publish from start to finish, short stories can be written, edited, and finished in a much shorter time frame; and with a smaller budget.

By publishing short stories alongside your longer work, you expand your presence on a retailer website, and thus come up more often in searches and on featured pages. This extra traffic will increase sales of your other titles

Fill in the gaps between novel releases

Novels are hard work. It can take months or sometimes years to get them right. The publishing process might have been majorly simplified by modern tools, but the writing process is still just as arduous as ever.

Short stories, by comparison, are simpler. Not easier, because writing a great short story is still a major challenge. But the process is much simpler. Writing short stories is similar to writing a single scene (or a few scenes) for a novel. Except, you don’t have to pay attention to an over-arching storyline.

Publishing short fiction while working on a novel is a great method to keep your audience reading your stuff and gives you something to promote while you work on your big project.

Experiment with new genres.

Short stories are a smaller commitment than a novel. You can write a short story in a new genre in a weekend and file it away if it doesn’t work. If you put the time in required to write a novel in a new genre, you might feel obligated to then publish it and put your full power behind it. That is a huge risk and most authors simply avoid it.

The risk involved with writing and publishing shorts is much lower. It is a medium that is open to experimentation. I find that a lot of writers are pigeon-holed into the genre they write and feel that if they wrote in other genres, they won’t find success. That is simply not true.

If you’ve never explored other genres and other mediums, you don’t know what will work for you. Especially if you haven’t found the success you’ve been looking for, experimentation with short stories is a great way to figure out what your readers want and to then follow it up with a novel.

Expand your universe.

In addition to all of the previously mentioned benefits to writing and publishing short fiction, the most interesting to me is to use short fiction to expand a fictional universe that you’ve already created.

I’m sure there have been tons of scenes that you’ve had to cut because they just didn’t work in your novel. Why not flesh those scenes out as short stories and put them up as companion pieces? Your readers want to know more about your characters. They already love them (or they should, right?). You can skip a lot of the backstory and reward your true fans with extra scenes that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get.

An astonishingly small number of writers actually do this, less than 1%. You’re working hard to write your stories. Don’t just trash every scene that doesn’t fit. Re-purpose it as a supplemental short. Or write that scene that you’ve always wanted to write as a short and give your readers an extra taste of something different. Who knows, it might catch on and be the influence for you to write a new novel with a market-proven hook.

Short stories are a struggling form of writing when compared to novels. But they don’t have to be. Writers who approach writing short stories from a smarter perspective, one that uses insights from marketing and experience in the industry, can revive the short story. It happens one short at a time.

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Come See My New Logo Designs!

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I had the opportunity recently to design a few logos for some online courses.

My client, Peter Clark Nelson, is a heart-centered business consultant who has some great new courses coming out this summer. When he asked me to design some special logos for him I was thrilled, because the style he was looking for completely resonates with me. It’s a style of artwork that I’ve always wanted to try my hand at but never got the chance until now.

When he asked me to design some special logos for him I was thrilled, because the style he was looking for was one I had wanted to try for a long time now.

Check them out below!

 

I’m so happy with the way these turned out and so is Peter. In fact, he’s asked me to design a set of Oracle cards for business oriented people, using the sacred geometry theme. I can’t wait to get started 🙂

Here is a link to Peter’s profile where he shares some wonderfully uplifting and inspirational content:

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Generate Clients with this Non-Fiction Book Layout!

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Have you ever thought of writing non-fiction? Do you offer products or services? Do you think you might like to in the future?

As a writer, there is a system for reaching your earning potential.

Here are some hot tips on writing non-fiction to generate clients!

I’ve included a book outline to help you get started right away.

Having an outline makes it easier to write your book. Breaking it down into chunks or separate topics gives you the opportunity to sit down and do focused writing, one subject at a time.

The Generate Clients Layout is designed to do just that, make you money off the additional products and services you provide. It’s perfect for anyone who coaches, consults, accepts speaking engagements, provides training, or offers courses or webinars.

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INTRODUCTION

If you’re planning on using your book to generate clients, then this outline is for you.

In order to generate clients with your book, you’ll need a layout like the one that you’ll find here. It’s structured to keep the reader focused on the content of the book in the order that it’s presented.

Many readers will skim the contents of a book to grasp the key concepts, it’s the way of today’s busy world. If you want your audience engrossed in your book, soaking up its content, word for word, then this layout will accomplish that for you.


PERSONAL

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to write down your idea of success. This will give you a clear vision of what possibilities you will want to explore using your book as the foundation.

Remember that you are looking to build your business with your book, not just earn a residual income from it. Your audience is your sustainable business profit. Your mark of success is your active network, the people that will purchase your products.

RESEARCH:

Research your topic on amazon, YouTube, and Reddit. Look up popular material that relates to your topic. Study the way the content is structured.

Read through viewer comments and look for trends in what the readers or viewers are wanting – questions they have, likes and dislikes.

Then list the top ten questions or problems and intertwine them into your book. Be sure to take notes as you go.

VOICE:

The voice of your writing should be a conversational one. Tell, don’t sell until the final chapter.

You want your reader to feel as if you are talking with them. You want them to be compelled to talk back to your book.

NOTE ABOUT TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Many writers make the mistake of having boring chapter titles, or worse, descriptive chapter titles. The table of contents is a tool to entice the reader into reading, to draw them into starting from the beginning and consuming every chapter.

If your chapter titles are too descriptive, they’ll give the contents of the chapter away. If they know what the chapter’s about, chances are they’ll stop reading. If they assume they grasp the contents of the book, they won’t feel compelled to read on. They will skip over sections, or not read the book at all.

You want to approach naming your chapters as if you were creating headlines for content – what will make the reader investigate further.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

There is an expectation of your readers that you, as a writer, are an expert on your subject, that you have special knowledge of the concepts which relate to it, that you have a clear idea of the aspects which should be addressed.

You want to introduce who you are, what you are addressing in the book, and what the reader will come away with. This sets the pace for your reader and creates anticipation.

Identify the problems – promise a solution: demonstrate to the reader that you understand them and that your book provides the solution to their problems

How is your approach different from others? Why will people think you have the right answers for them?

Don’t give away the key concepts.

In the chapters immediately following this one, you will approach your readers top concerns, one by one, and use metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions. If you need to add additional key concepts (solutions to concerns), feel free to do so, or, save the new key concepts for a second book.

What is your purpose? Your book should be able to transform into other products.

What are the main ideas you are trying to get across? What will this book enable your audience to do?

2. KEY CONCEPT A

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

3. KEY CONCEPT B

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

4. KEY CONCEPT C

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

5.  KEY CONCEPT D

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

6. STEP-BY-STEP METHOD

What if: here is where you want to lay out the step by step actions your reader can take to apply the solutions.

These steps should be tactile rather than conceptual.

Go through each step one-by-one. You can put all the steps in one chapter, or spread them out, one step –  per chapter.

7. SUMMARY

You want to end your book with the same momentum you started with, giving the book a proper ending.

Motivate and inspire: it’s important to use the right language, you don’t want to leave the reader feeling overwhelmed. You want them to feel satisfied and motivated to tackle the steps you provided.

You also by this point have earned their interest in any future work from you.

8. CLOSING

This is your opportunity to direct people to contact you to purchase your products and services. Your call to action. This chapter should be half the length of your previous chapters.

Who you serve: who is your specific audience? Your niche? Age? Financial status? Job description? Who are you selling to? What are the attributes of the people who will purchase your services? Express this to the reader so they can see that they are exactly the type of person who should be hiring you for personal help through one of your services.

How you serve them: keep them fascinated, tell them how you have solved problems for other people and how you can do the same for them. You want them to wish they had you on their team. By now you’ve created value with all you’ve given away within the book, so they should feel a bit compelled to repay you.

What next steps do you want your reader to take? Should they inquire about your services, give you a call, consult with you, go to your website? What body of knowledge do you possess that will make your audience take the next step?

You want people to hire you, that’s what your book is about – trying to make the phone ring.

Influence them – get them to buy into what you’re saying.


Have you thought of expanding your brand by writing non-fiction? Tell me about it in the comments below!

I’m open to any questions or comments you might have!


Please Like and Share!

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Join My Launch-Team!

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Thanks for stopping by! I am getting super excited about my upcoming book launch and I’m looking for some awesome people to join my launch team!

Check out the details below!

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This guide will be a great asset to anyone who writes a blog, authors books, provides services, instructs, consults, coaches, provides e-courses or tours as a keynote speaker. If you’re any one of these people, then you’re in business. Your goal is to attract people to your platform, to keep them there, and to sell them something. You want new subscribers to your platform because email marketing is the best-kept secret to selling books.

Having a platform that is built to work for you is crucial and branding yourself is the first step in creating your platform.

What my guidebook will offer is a step-by-step process to begin creating your platform. If you have already established a presence online, my guidebook gives you the chance to review your brand, hone it, and give it an all-star upgrade.

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What I’m looking for is anyone who would like to be a part of my upcoming book launch. These people would:

  1. Read, complete, and then review my upcoming guide to writers.
  2. Send me their review.
  3. Commit to leaving their review of the book – on launch day – at the books point of purchase. I will also take a selection of the reviews and use them on my website, or on the back of the book. 
  4. Post their review of the book on their own blogs with links to purchase and schedule the post for the books launch day.

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I’m looking to make this book launch fun. I want the member’s of my team to feel the excitement with me, and I’ll have special prizes to give away to random member’s of my team as the launch reaches certain milestones.

Also… I am putting together a special thank you gift for each member of my team (some awesome swag) and would also love to feature every one of you on my blog!

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The working copy I will be sending you will be in PDF format and will provide space for you to complete the exercises.

I’m in the process of putting the guide together now and should have it completed mid-May.

You’ll have a month to review before the book is launched.

I am also open to any tips, feedback, or ideas you might have for me to make the book, and launch, more successful!

Thank You!

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Please Contact Me Below to Sign-Up

Concept Covers for the Indie Drawing Winner!

For about two years I have been volunteering my graphic design services to give back to the writing community.


(I hold a drawing every other month where the winner receives a free book cover design and a book teaser)


I feel so blessed that I get to connect with so many talented people who have welcomed me so warmly, some of which I have had the opportunity to create for (Awesome)!

I have so much fun working with the winners of the drawing that I decided it was time to start sharing – so you could enjoy the process and discover their talent.

This post is all about the concept covers….

Meet K.D. Rose!

The winner for March is author and poet, K.D. Rose, and she’s just awesome! She’s a talented author and a poet. Her book, Inside Sorrow, won Readers Favorite Silver Medal for Poetry. She also won an Honorable Mention in the 2016 New Millennium Writings Poetry Contest. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been published in numerous magazines and journals. You can check out her books through the Amazon link below!

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K.D. has a fantastic blog where she keeps us all up-to-date on her poetry publications and posts some great articles you might find helpful as well as random posts about life as a writer. She’s fun to follow. You can follow her blog here, and connect with K.D. via these social links below 🙂

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Bellow are the concepts I created for K.D.’s , soon to be published, book of poetry. The subtext in the blue cover concept was used as strictly a placeholder and not an approved description of her work. So, basically, it’s just meant to give a feel for what it might look like if there were to be added subtext.

Which one do you like Best?

 

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Let us know in the comments section 🙂