Steven is left alone to go trick-or-treating on Halloween for the first time. As the night unravels, Steve finds himself trapped in a terror he may never escape.
The flash fiction short story contest winner of Writing Bad’s 2020 Flash Fiction Labor Day Contest. “A Grandfather’s Clock,” by Eddie Vegas.
One of the jokes about being a writer is trying to explain the search history on your computer. I know I’ve fallen victim to this stereotype, thanks to the genres I write. Whether it’s getting details about a location, the effects of certain medications, or the decomposition rate of the human body, writers use this information to add realism to their stories. Part of writing, after all, is research.
Around writing circles we always hear the same question about writing bilingual and multicultural characters: when and how do people slip from their mother tongue into their second language?
Giving Your Characters Believable Qualities
One of the most known rules for creating fictional characters is making them realistic. Besides their appearance and actions, how can you achieve this? You need them to have personalities that are consistent, a story that’s interesting and easy to follow along, and one or two qualities that add to their character and make them stand apart from the others.
I remember the first time I saw “NaNoWriMo” mentioned in an online writer’s forum. I immediately thought it must be some new, millennial slang term or text-cronym that I had yet to learn the meaning. So when I Googled it, I was thrilled to discover it instead to be an incredible, month-long challenge presented to writers everywhere: 50,000 words in 30 days.
It may be the salty aired beach or a long-ago molten path on a dormant volcano that brings us into the story, and the main characters who introduce themselves and take the reader by the hand for the journey. However, without secondary characters, the story wouldn’t get far. Main characters can’t be everywhere at once, even though they are the main focus in stories. There’s no way for them to gain every tidbit of knowledge they need without the help of their comrades. That’s why writers should never forget the importance of creating and casting unforgettable secondary characters.
All writers have experienced the first draft blues. The idea for the story came to us in a flurry of inspiration; the characters sauntered through our door, greeting us with their riveting personalities. Yet, as we sat down to write the story, the sentences stumbled and clanked together in an oafish web of prose. Too many writers have sat and stared at these first drafts thinking themselves too unskilled to give justice to their stories and characters. Yet, with only six simple steps writers everywhere can begin writing with style today.
It is a common fallacy that stories are driven by plot. The truth is, the stories that last are the ones driven by character. They’re the ones where we’ve become so attached to the characters over the years, that we simply can’t let them go, rather we continue to re-imagine these characters over and over again. Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield, Randle Patrick McMurphy-these characters are unforgettable, their traits carved into the memory of all readers who’ve met them, just as if they had walked through the door and shook the reader’s hand. These characters breathe and bleed upon the pages as the reader follows their stories in anticipation of what will become of them. How did their writers do it? What exactly is the perfect recipe for a character that bleeds?
“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my first draft sucked with a capital “S.” Halfway through chapter one, I wanted to take it out back and beat it with a hockey stick for wasting my time. I’d like to say this feeling dissipated as I got further along, that my confidence grew word by word, sentence by sentence. But I’d hate to lie to you. The truth is that I became more sure of the inevitable failure looming ahead of me, blocking my path to success.