Monday, December 31, 2018
Friday, December 28, 2018
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
- Read Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Study the stories and see how other authors wrote stories that held to the theme of the book. You will hold in your hand a guide to what the editors consider a focused story. Be sure to read books published since 2008 when Chicken Soup for the Soul changed hands.
- Read and reread the story callout or online description. And then read it again. I usually go back to the description multiple times while writing. The editors lay out clues about what they’re looking for in the callouts. Themes they’ve covered more than once (such as dog, cat, or Christmas books) will each have a little different slant. Watch for the nuances. What I Learned from the Dog and My Very Good, Very Bad Dog suggest varying ideas on the same subject.
- Keep suggested topics in mind but don’t be shackled by them. The lists of possible topics included in callouts often help me hone in on a story idea. But I have also gone my own route and come up with stories that are outside the list but still centered on the book’s theme. Don’t be afraid to try something different but keep the book’s premise foremost in mind.
- Cut anything that doesn’t stick to the theme. Once you finish the first draft of your story, go back and ruthlessly edit. The now-famous story I tell in my workshops is of a friend who asked me to look over her Chicken Soup story on the eve of the deadline. I had no time to be diplomatic, so I slashed a good third of the story that didn’t stick to the book’s theme. She rewrote and submitted it. Not only was that story accepted, but a year later, she reworked the part she cut and submitted it for a different title. That story was also published. Her experience illustrates how important it is to stick to the theme of the book.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Monday, December 24, 2018
Friday, December 21, 2018
Thursday, December 20, 2018
The whole point of the season is really about reflecting on the decorations and goodwill which is abundant during this time of year. If you don’t have time to bake cookies for the neighborhood cookie exchange, it’s okay to brighten the day of a local baker and get your cookies from them. Instead of focusing on perfection, give yourself grace to savor the season.
Every community has quirky items that can be used in your stories. If you don’t take time to savor the season, you might forget them in May when you’re writing a Christmas story.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018