Back-to-School Reflections

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 16
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm

The back-to-school season always brings a big smile to my face–and not only because our neighborhood pool is blissfully empty for quiet daytime swims with my baby girl. ;)

I adore seeing cute little kids with freshly-pressed clothes and large, earnest eyes, clutching brand-new backpacks and notebooks as they head off for a day full of learning. I also get a kick out of the middle- and high-schoolers, many of whom are trying out new looks and identities. To many of them, the beginning of the school year is a blank slate, one in which they can be anything they want to be–and to me, that’s both endearing and inspiring.

This post might seem a bit late, considering that the kids have been back for a few weeks now, but the school year is still fresh and new. Throughout September, I often find myself reminiscing about first days of school past, and I also feel more inclined to learn new things and teach others as well. And just today, I had a weird craving for an apple, just like one you’d find on the stereotypical teacher’s desk! I guess there are worse foods to crave. ;)

I guess these are enough books to last me through my September learning renaissance. ;)

I guess these are enough books to last me through my September learning renaissance. ;)

This September, I’ve been visiting the library frequently, not only to expose Xaviana to new books and fun activities like Baby Rhyme Time, but also to quest for new reading material of my own. In the process, I discovered two authors that I loooove. Suzanne Woods Fisher writes Amish fiction that combines everything I look for in a good book: excitement, adventure, romance, and faith. I also fell in love with The Lost Girls of Rome by Italian author Donato Carrisi, because I’m a huge fan of suspenseful crime dramas.

I’ve also been playing teacher for Xaviana, who is almost 11 months old and has entered this amazing phase in which she seems to learn something new every day. When we’re not playing, exercising, and climbing on everything, we do a lot of reading. I read all her books in our at home “library” every day–about 15 board books throughout the day and 3 bedtime stories at night. We also have the Bright Baby board book with colors, numbers, ABC’s, shapes, and opposites, and we go through it daily. She’s an eager little pupil, and can now tell me what cows, cats, and sheep say, show me “up” and “down” with her arms, differentiate between her “small” and “big” toy balls, and fit the elusive shapes in the correct holes of her puzzle. She loves reading time, and smiles at her favorite books, especially I Love You Through and Through, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and If Animals Kissed Good Night. Playing school has never been so much fun!

Readers out there, do you find yourself going through your own personal renaissance during the back-to-school season, even if you’re not heading back to the classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections!

5 Ways to Make Your Historical Fiction Sizzle

by Kristina Ludwig
Nov 26
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: November 26, 2014 at 8:55 am

I’ve been immensely enjoying my time writing The Mermaid’s Wedding, book 2 of my California Mermaids series! Not only does it allow me to stretch my imagination and indulge in my fascination with mermaids, it has also helped me to rekindle my love of history.

The Mermaid’s Wedding takes place in 1912, and Oceania and Xavier travel to San Francisco to meet with the conductor of the symphony, who has offered both of them positions. I’ve visited San Francisco twice, but I didn’t know much about its history. Therefore, I headed to the library to load up on books about the subject.

Here's a picture of early twentieth century San Francisco that I came across in my research. (Courtesy of timeshutter.com)

Here’s a picture of early twentieth century San Francisco that I came across in my research. (Courtesy of timeshutter.com)

As I began to read, I became enthralled in San Francisco’s rich history, and voila–I realized that I just had to share some awesome tips for writing historical fiction with you! So, here they are:

  1. Lose yourself - We write best when we’re entirely immersed in a subject, so by all means, hole up in your office amidst a pile of books. Or, if you’re like me, hang out in the library courtyard sipping an almond roca latte while–yes–being surrounded by a pile of books. Losing yourself in your research will allow you to pick up on the fine historical details and nuances that will bring your time period and setting to life.
  2. Remain accurate to the big picture but use your imagination for the rest - It’s important to know the key historical events and landmarks of the time, as well as how people talked, their modes of transportation, and what was fashionable. But for other things, feel free to use your artistic license. For example, I write about the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1911. I learned in my research that Henry Hadley was the director of the symphony at this time, but I’d already had a character in mind for the director. Therefore, I called him a different name and let myself go wild with my descriptions. Most readers won’t notice this discrepancy, but my imaginary director adds a lot of personality and flavor to the story.
  3. Only write about a period you’re passionate about – I’ve been interested in the turn of the century (the twentieth century, that is) ever since I was a little girl obsessed with Samantha, the “bright Victorian beauty” from the American Girls books. Therefore, deciding to set the first California Mermaids books in 1912 was a no-brainer. Originally, I’d wanted to set them in 1901, but I’d realized that I wanted them to take place after the San Francisco earthquake and fires of 1906, and after the symphony was established, so 1912 it was. But I digress… My point is that you should choose to write about a time period that has always interested you, and a place that you’ve either visited or dreamed of visiting. History can either be scintillating or terribly dry and boring, depending on your interests and personal preferences.
  4. Keep a “question notebook” during the writing process - I began researching my topic before I began writing the book, but realized that many of my questions arose as I was writing. For example, what was the most affluent area close to downtown San Francisco, where Xavier’s family would be likely to live? What was its proximity to cable cars? The questions went on and on. I actually began to write them down on a page of my inspiration notebook, since I didn’t want to thumb through my reference books right away and interrupt my creative writing momentum. After I’d finished writing, I would look up the answers and fill in the blanks, or change little details.
  5. Have a good relationship with your librarian - The librarians are awesome! They helped me to find the perfect nonfiction history books in two minutes flat. And not only have they proven helpful during my research, they’re amazing resources for all things literary in the community. As writers, we need to network with as many literati as we can, and librarians certainly fit the bill!

Writers out there, how do you research your topics when writing historical fiction? Did you find these tips useful? I’d love to hear your questions and comments!

Amish Wedding Launch

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 24
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

I’ve been fairly obsessed lately with the writing and/or editing of Book 2 of the Amish in College series, “Amish Wedding: Hannah’s Book.” Now, I’m happy to announce that it’s live on Amazon!

Amish Wedding

“Amish Wedding: Hannah’s Book” was so much fun to research and write, and I was excited to give supporting character Hannah a place to tell her story. Plus, being a newlywed myself, I really found myself relating to Hannah!

Want to check out an excerpt before you buy it? If so, here’s Chapter 3. (Hint: Find Chapter 1 at the end of “Amish Faith: Rebekah’s Book,” the first book of the series, and Chapter 2 on a recent blog post.)

Chapter Three

 

Jakob remains there, gazing up at me as he balances on one knee. His hair shimmers in the moonlight, as pale as the moon itself, and a shiver runs through my entire body. I feel like I’m in one of those dreams where I can think but can’t talk—although those dreams are usually nightmares, whereas right now I’m literally frozen with happiness.

I finally manage to choke out, “Yah.” My voice becomes clearer and stronger, as I say, “I love you too, Jakob. And I want you to be my Mann, forever.”

Before I even know what’s happening, Jakob hoists me out of the buggy, swinging me around in circles. Clouds of dust swirl around us as he spins across the driveway, and I laugh and shriek in delight.

I should be worried that my parents will come out in their nightclothes, demanding to know what’s going on, but somehow I just can’t bring myself to care. I’m engaged at last—to the one that I love more than anything in the world.

Jakob and I will belong to each other forever. I’m so excited to start our married lives together, and we won’t have to wait long. It’s already July, and our wedding will have to take place in November or December, after the harvest. That means we could be Mann and Fraa in only four months!

Jakob finally lowers me to the ground, staggering a bit from the dizzying twirling. And as my body comes back to earth, so does my brain. Only four months until the wedding. There is a lot of work to be done, starting with some celery planting.

***

The next morning, Eliza and I awaken at 5 AM for chores; first, we gather eggs from the hens and milk the cows. Then, we help my mother prepare breakfast. As we fry up bacon and eggs, I ask my mother if we can invite Jakob over for dinner that night, and she says yes with a slightly raised eyebrow. I have a feeling that she senses my joy—she might even suspect the reason behind it.

I bite my lip, holding back the giddy desire to tell everyone in sight about Jakob’s proposal. I want to keep it secret from my parents until tonight, when Jakob and I will announce our intentions.

Now it’s 6:15 AM, almost time to head out the door for work at Stoltzfus Bakery.  I may not want my whole family to know about my engagement yet, but I know I can’t possibly wait all day to tell Eliza.

“Guess what?” I say as Eliza slips on her work shoes.

“What?” she asks. She must sense the energy in my voice, because she looks up at me, studying my face with keen hazel eyes.

I lower my voice to a whisper. My older brothers have married and moved out, but there’s still my nosy thirteen year-old sister Rachel and my twelve year-old brother Isaac to deal with.

“Jakob proposed to me last night.” I gesture to the delicate clock, which I’d placed on the dresser the night before. “He gave me this when he asked for my hand.”

“Wow, Hannah,” Eliza says. “I’m so dazed, I barely know what to say—except congratulations, of course. I knew it was coming, but a proposal is always such a wunderlich surprise.”

I smile. “It sure is. I can hardly believe that it really happened. And now there’s so much to do. Jakob and I will announce our intentions to Mammi and Daadi over dinner tonight. And then, I’ll have to start sewing my dress, and the newehockers’ dresses, too. Of course, you’ll stand up with me in the wedding, and so will Mercy and Rebekah, maybe cousin Ruth—”

Eliza laughs, clapping her hands over her ears. “Slow down, Hannah,” she chides me. “You’re only just engaged. Why don’t you enjoy that a little first before you go planning everything out?”

I roll my eyes as my mind continues to make lists of all the things I have to do. “I am enjoying it. But there’s also a lot to think about. Some day, you’ll understand.”

I flash Eliza a grin as we both straighten up and head out the door. Her reaction was fun to watch, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Mercy’s.

On Location: 5 Writing Locations to Stimulate Creativity

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 9
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

As writers, we all have goals–writing quotas, so to speak. We want to write x number of words by y timeframe, or x number of chapters in said timeframe. I’m no different. When I’m writing my Amish novellas, my goal is a hard and fast two chapters per day. This gives me enough time to work on my other projects, social media, and promotions, and it also ensures that I’ll finish one Amish novella per month. It’s especially important when I’m writing the Amish in College series, because these novellas have a good twenty pages on the Amish Hearts books.

Last week, however, I crushed this goal–but it wasn’t by accident. One of my birthday presents from Antonio was a membership to Hera Hub, an organization for female entrepreneurs who usually work from home. Hera Hub is a physical location where business owners in various industries can network with each other and attend events such as writing workshops and business boosters. The work space is open and inviting, decorated like a spa, and encourages community and productivity.

I went to Hera Hub three times last week, and each time, I got a ton of writing done. I wrote one extra chapter per day on my Hera Hub days. True, I was exhausted by Friday–I’d basically tired out my brain. But even taking the entire day Friday off from writing, I’d still written an extra chapter above and beyond my weekly goals.

This got me thinking…first of all about how great of a work environment Hera Hub is, but also about how writing from other locations besides the home office can stimulate creativity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to be super creative from the home office, and that’s still where I do the majority of my work. But it’s also ah-mazing to work from different locations, since newness makes you more innovative.

So many ways to increase creativity...so little time! Picture courtesy of ljsilentg.com

So many ways to increase creativity…so little time! Picture courtesy of ljsilentg.com

Here are 5 away-from-home writing environments that have sparked my creativity. I hope they work for you!

  1. Local workspaces – Office-style workspaces, such as Hera Hub, are the perfect places to get out of your writing doldrums. The environment, the people, and events such as writing workshops jack up creativity and productivity. Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, some of them writers, fuels your spirit and your writing. So far, Hera Hub is found in the San Diego area, but there is talk of expanding and franchising. Check out your area for similar workspaces–you’ll be glad you did.
  2. Libraries – They’re free, and they’re full of books–what could be better?! Libraries are the perfect place to write. Any resource you can imagine is right there at your fingertips. Plus, if writer’s block strikes, you can exercise your mind and get back on track by picking a book from the seemingly infinite wall of books and reading it. Another awesome thing about the library is that it’s the perfect place to meet other authors in your neighborhood. Antonio and I went to the library on a random Saturday afternoon, and stumbled upon a writer’s organization that holds meetings there once a month! Needless to say, we’ll be attending the next meeting, and have found a whole new group of writers to network with!
  3. Coffee shops – It may sound cliche, but I’ve gotten some good writing done at Starbuck’s over a tall blonde roast. Not only does the coffee wake up brain cells, cafes are prime people-watching havens. Need to find a character for your next story? Just listen in on some convos at a coffee shop, study some patrons and their mannerisms, and you’re halfway there.
  4. Airplanes – Flights, especially moderately lengthy ones, are the optimal places to do some serious writing. Looking out at the clouds does wonders for creativity. So does the fact that you’re locked into an enclosed space, so you’re almost forced to work. Bonus points if you spend part of your flight reading, too.
  5. Parks – When I was in elementary school, having class outside in the courtyard was a special treat. I felt like I learned so much more in the fresh, open air than I did in the stuffy, old classroom. Writing outside at a park can work much the same way. Like the coffee shop, there’s plenty of people-watching (and therefore, character inspiration). Go there on a nice day, and there’s also sunshine, which increases your creativity through its actions on your brain neurotransmitters. (More about that in this recent blog post.) There’s something magical about sitting on the grass in the breeze crafting a story. Try it this spring, and you’ll be a believer!

What other locations do you enjoy writing from? I’d love to hear what works for you.

The Modern Debate: eBooks, Print Books, or Both?

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 3
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

Like many writers, I love to read. eBooks, print books, it doesn’t matter–I’m not picky. I download eBooks by the dozen, pick up the classics at the local library, and can frequently be found on the weekends at random bookstores browsing 95 cent paperbacks. I choose to write eBooks only, because my tech-savvy YA audience seems to enjoy eBooks more than their print counterparts, but as far as reading goes, no books are off-limits for me!

I’ve had numerous stimulating conversations with family, friends, and acquaintances over the last few months, with the specific question: print or eBook, which do you like better? I think preference may be a generational thing; my grandparents and parents prefer print books, although my forward-thinking mom has gotten into Kindle eBooks since I’ve been writing and publishing them.

Antonio likes eBooks better, since they’re easy to read using the Kindle app on his Android phone and they’re “less clutter”–a constant concern in our house since we’re both semi-neat-freaks who have feng shui-ed our lives since moving to California. Many of our friends who, like us, are in their twenties and early thirties, prefer eBooks as well, although a few have said they enjoy the overall feel of print books, from the texture of the paper to the smell of the pages. I have to say that I agree with them. Some books, especially the classics, just seem better in print. Reading is, after all, a complete sensory experience; I just finished reading George Orwell’s 1984 in hardcover, and turning the pages of the print version made me feel closer to the characters and the time period  in which the book was written and originally published.

The majority of the teens I’ve talked to prefer eBooks, because they’re cheaper and easier to obtain than print books. Many teens say they love taking advantage of free eBook giveaways, such as KDP Select free days. A few teens, however, say they like “real books” (i.e. print ones) better, and are likely to pay more for a physical copy of a book than its eBook counterpart. When asked why, one teen told me that the print book just felt more “real” sitting there on the shelf than an eBook would feel buried away in the recesses of a tablet or ereader.

There are so many reasons to love both eBooks and print books--why choose? Image courtesy of speechbuddy.com

There are so many reasons to love both eBooks and print books–why choose? Image courtesy of speechbuddy.com

Based on discussions and random blog posts I’ve encountered, here are 5 reasons to love eBooks:

  1. They’re less expensive than their print counterparts–sometimes free!
  2. They’re quicker and easier to obtain than print books.
  3. They take up no physical space–great for traveling or de-cluttering your life!
  4. They provide a great way to discover new authors and genres, and many eBook novellas are out there for reluctant and / or pressed-for-time readers.
  5. They’re fun, easy, and convenient to read on tablets, ereaders, and smartphones.

And here are 5 reasons to love print books:

  1. They require no technological prowess–just open and enjoy!
  2. They have a distinctive texture and aroma that enhances the reading experience.
  3. They feel more “real” when you can handle them and see them sitting on a desk or shelf.
  4. It’s easier to peek ahead if you’re curious about the ending. :)
  5. You can borrow them from the library for free.

Which form of book do you prefer, print books or eBooks, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Book or Movie: Which Do YOU Like Better?

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 20
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 20, 2014 at 9:07 am

It’s an age-old debate, but one that never seems to get tired: When we read a book and then watch the movie based on it, we always ask each other or at least ourselves, “Which did you like better, the book or the movie?”

Book and movie

A lot of people say, “Oh, the book was so much better!” And why is that? My guess would be because books allow readers to use their imaginations to fill in the details of the scenes and characters. Reading the book is more of an active process that engages the mind, while watching the movie is a more passive one. As a result, readers have certain expectations of how the characters will appear and how the plot will unfold, and because everyone’s imagination works differently, many people will be disappointed in the way the movie represents the book. Think about how many times you’ve heard people say, “Why did they pick so -and-so to play that part? That wasn’t how I visualized him at all!”

Also, many movies fail to pick up on the subtle undertones and themes that permeated the books. “The Wizard of Oz” book, for example, was written as a political satire, but the movie portrays a more lighthearted version of the story, focused on beautiful images and dramatic action. Another example is “The Hunger Games” series. The movies capture some of the political themes of the books, but miss out on other important ones. As riveting as the movies are, the books have more depth and dimension.

However, some people prefer the movies to the books because they are more visual people and enjoy seeing the action unfolding before their eyes instead of reading about it. Another reason why some prefer movies to books is because the act of watching a movie, especially in a theater, is more of a social one, while reading a book is more of a solitary activity. And finally, some prefer the movie to the book because it’s fairly magical to watch the book they read come to life. In fact, I think that’s why we all want to watch the movies of our favorite books, even if we insist we always like the books better.

I love both the books and the movies, for all of the above reasons. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for a movie, while other times I want to lose myself in a good book. I enjoy comparing the book and the movie, and eagerly anticipate the interesting new twists that Hollywood screenwriters sometimes incorporate into the movies.

Which do you prefer, the book or the movie, and why?

 

Contest: Buy “Winner” & Win a Special Prize!

by Kristina Ludwig
Dec 18
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: December 18, 2013 at 9:58 am

I am excited to announce my first ever giveaway for readers, the “Buy Winner & Win” contest!

Kristina Ludwig Contest

In honor of Winner, my new eBook about a teenage girl who’s hooked on winning, I am hosting — what else — a competition! I am offering a special prize to one lucky reader who will be picked at random using Rafflecopter.

All you have to do is buy a copy of Winner or  Unlucky 13 between December 17th and December 31st, 2013, and email your receipt to info@kristinaludwig.com.

You can also gift one of the books to as many people as you want – and forward me the receipt. You will receive one more entry for every gift you make!

Write an honest review on Amazon and you’ll receive one more entry in the drawing. Just forward your Amazon.com Review confirmation email to info@kristinaludwig.com.

All participants will then be entered to win the Kindle Paperwhite. Drawing will happen in the first week of January.

The winner of the Paperwhite will be announced on this blog, and will also be notified by email. Here is an example of the email receipt. All you have to do is forward it to enter the contest. Good luck!

Contest Email

Amish Fiction: Why It’s Hot

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 8
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

I’ve always been partial to contemporary YA fiction. I’ve been reading the genre since long before I fell into the YA age group–and have continued long after I fell out of it. I love the depth of the characters and the drama of their emotions.  There’s something timely and relevant about stories featuring flawed, vulnerable, dynamic characters living in the here and now. To me, contemporary YA is as good as it gets, which is why I adore reading it, writing it, and generally immersing myself in it.

But lately, I’ve been working on a writing project that’s totally different, yet equally intriguing…Amish YA fiction. The idea of writing an Amish fiction story came to me totally randomly. Almost two years ago, I was reading Allure magazine, and there was an article with fun facts about coming of age. One of the blurbs mentioned Rumspringa, the Amish rite of passage. And **bam!** I decided it would be awesome to write a story about that, and the rest is history.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, and had plenty of experience with the Amish. I saw some at a grocery store in Edinboro, and others driving buggies when my family and I cruised the country roads. When we drove through Lancaster, I admired an Amish schoolhouse, with its matching boys’ and girls’ outhouses. To me, the Amish culture seemed like a slice of history. Seeing the Amish in action was like a time machine; I felt like I was watching pioneers from the 1800s. Even though I definitely consider myself a modern girl, I’ve always been more than a little nostalgic for bygone times. Maybe a lot of us are, and that’s why all things Amish, from books to TV shows, have been so hot lately.

Amish-people-007

I started thinking about other reasons why Amish fiction is hot, and here’s what I came up with.

  1. It’s Fresh: Amish fiction is still a relatively new genre, and, naturally, whenever a new genre emerges it becomes a literary hot spot.
  2. It’s Interesting: Amish society is fascinating since it’s so foreign to many of us. While the rest of the world seems to keep striving toward a materialistic rut, the Amish emphasize that it’s a gift to be simple. The tenets of the Amish are refreshing, especially in these days of avarice.
  3. It’s a New World: To most of us, the world of the Amish is all new. One of the best things about reading fiction is the ability to escape our everyday lives and enter into a totally new environment. Just look at the recent trends of futuristic, dystopian, and / or paranormal fiction–very different from our world, and massively popular with readers.
  4. It’s Educational: Amish fiction paints a picture of a society of which we know very little. One of the best things about fiction is that it allows authors to bring foreign and / or historic settings to life. Just look at one of my favorite books, Gone With the Wind. Margaret Mitchell educates us about Civil War-era Southern gentry so well that we feel as though we lived through that time ourselves. Somehow, learning about history or other cultures becomes easier when it’s accompanied by characters to bring everything to life.
  5. It Has the Potential for Great Drama: The Amish are very conformist, but Amish youth have a chance to break the mold and experience the outside world during Rumspringa. However, if Amish teens choose ultimately to accept the outside world, they will be shunned by their families. The teen years are a dramatic, turbulent time for anyone, but for Amish teens, they have the potential to be even more so. Amish teens face the drama of learning about the “English” people, and they have to reconcile their new experiences with their upbringing. They also face the terrifying possibility of being ostracized by the very society and family that brought them up. The stakes are high for these kids, which makes Amish fiction a great place for the drama that drives storylines. 

Short Series: A New Trend in YA Literature

by Kristina Ludwig
May 9
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: May 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

YA series are certainly not a new phenomenon. I grew up reading them. First, it was Nancy Drew. Then, I moved on to the Baby-sitters Club and the Sweet Valley High books. YA series in the 90s seemed to go on forever, with literally hundreds of books following a similar formula. And we kids of the nineties simply devoured them!

One of the great series of yesteryear, The Baby-sitters Club!

One of the great YA series of yesteryear, The Baby-sitters Club.

Now, however, I’ve noticed a trend of shorter series in YA literature. The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games Trilogy are certainly the most well-known examples. But even outside the world of paranormal and dystopian YA fiction, there are tons of series. They’re becoming a trend in contemporary YA fiction as well. I just read two Stephanie Perkins books, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, which feature a cast of recurring characters. I’m eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series, Isla and the Happily Ever After, which will center on a character who made a brief appearance in Anna and the French Kiss. Another example is Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series; the characters go to the same school, and even though they’re not all from the same clique, they reappear in subsequent books.

These short series benefit readers and writers alike. Readers enjoy them because of the continuity–the characters become familiar, like old friends. And it’s interesting to see the development of a character who, in a previous book, may have only made occasional cameo appearances. Writers enjoy series because they can reuse characters and settings, saving the trouble of dreaming up a whole new batch. And, best of all, book sales spike as readers are drawn into the lives and loves of the characters. Series are the best way for authors to create the literary equivalent of customer loyalty, since a good series has readers coming back again, eagerly anticipating the release of the next book.

So, all you authors out there, YA or otherwise, think about giving series a chance. I know I’m kicking around some ideas in my head:)

Why You Should Write a Short Story Today

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 18
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I guess the question should be why not? It’s the rainy season (at least here in Chicago–flash flood anyone?!!), so it’s a great time to be indoors exercising your imagination. Writing short stories is the perfect way to stoke creativity, express yourself, warm up to write your novel, and much more. So whether you’re a new or seasoned writer, I hope I’ll be able to convince you to write your short story today!

5 Reasons You Should Write a Short Story:

  1. It’s a form of self-expression. We all love to express ourselves, whether it’s through speaking, Tweeting, blogging, or even “pieces of flair.” (Yes, Jennifer Anniston in Office Space, I’m talking about you. Throwback movies rule.) Writing a short story is just one more way to express yourself.
  2. It’s good writing practice. When you’re drafting a short story, the objective is to tell your most compelling tale in the least number of words. You have to be concise, and everything that happens must drive the plot forward. In today’s world of fast-paced, smart authors, fine-tuning these skills can only be a good thing. Want some practice before you start your short story? Check out Writer.ly on Facebook. They post pictures and challenge you to write a story about each picture in six words or less! Talk about extreme.
  3.  You can warm up to write your novel. I’ve heard so many writers say, “I love writing, but I just can’t seem to finish my novel!” I think this happens for two reasons. First of all, these writers may find it hard to follow through on projects. Second of all, these writers may not know how to craft a novel, with all its intricacies in structure and theme. Writing a short story can help you to overcome both obstacles: you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, spurring you to take on more ambitious projects. And you can practice techniques in structure that will come in handy when you’re writing larger works.
  4. You can win money! There are tons of short story contests out there, and they’re all opportunities for exposure and prizes. For example, Writer’s Digest periodically holds Short Short Story contests, where authors send their best stories (1500 words or less). Try entering some competitions. Who knows, you might win! And even if you don’t, you’ll have a short story that you can submit to magazines or publish on your own. Which leads me to #5…
  5. You can find your gateway into self-publishing. Publishing on Amazon and other ebook platforms requires research and diligence, and the best way to learn about it is to try it yourself. If you’re considering self-publishing a novel, why not start by publishing a short story? It’s the perfect way to master the platform, and to get your name out there!

I will be publishing my first YA short story, A First Time for Everything, before April 30th on Amazon and on other platforms. The story is about a fourteen year-old girl who faces a new stepmom, a cross-country move, and a whole new life. Olivia is homesick and hates her new home in California, but her cute neighbor Justin might be able to help her fix that ;)

I plan to give away the story for free, and later share the lessons learned from the experience with my blog followers.

One tip that is worth sharing with you today is to check out Tugboat Designs. They make awesome book covers that are reasonably priced http://www.tugboatdesign.net/

New book cover. Thanks Tugboat Designs!

New book cover. Thanks Tugboat Designs!