7 Steps for Effective Short Story Writing

Alpha Textbooks

Startup Stock Photos

School is back in full swing. Forget Snapchat. There’s no better time to break-out the keyboard and write a story. Our Short Story Contest is officially open to all middle school and high school students in Ontario.

Writing fiction can be tough for both established and aspiring writers. Here are seven short story writing steps to help you write your first masterpiece.

  1. Start with Brainstorming

It’s always important to brainstorm before bringing a creative writing piece to life. Brainstorming helps you think through different story ideas and narrative threads. It allows you to think about many possible storylines and alternative outcomes. Brainstorming is also a good time to take notes on other story components, such as characters, themes, tropes and symbolism, title, etc.

  1. Pick a Good Title

Just as important as the first paragraph of your story, titles can “make or break” a reader’s interest. If you know what you…

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How to Edit Your Novel Like a Boss (And Stay Focused While You’re Doing It)

Vivien Reis

What do we want?!

To be published!

When do we want it?!


How do we get it?!


So you’ve finished your first draft and you’re super duper excited. What now? How do you dive back in with the mindset of polishing this jumbled mess of words?

Edit Why Do We Edit.png

First off, I think it’s important to understand the difference between writing and editing. This difference may be obvious, but more specifically I want to point out one particular thing that changes for you, the writer. Have you ever heard this quote before?

“You should write first for yourself, then for others.”

In a nutshell it means that you should first write the story you want to read. If you’re a proponent of this thought, then this should highlight the difference that I’m talking about:

“You should edit first for your reader, then for your reader.”

Once you’ve written a story

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Perfect Editing Is A Lie

Under-Paid, Over-Enthused

Welcome back to my series on how to edit your manuscript! This is where I suggest how to edit your manuscript in preparation for either self-publishing or querying.

Remember, there’s no one way to edit. If you’re already doing something that I’m not mentioning, or you do something differently, why not suggest it in the comments below?

The first week was all about how to get started, readying both your manuscript and your mind. The second week, we talked about the biggest things you’ll be looking for.

This third week as about the things that are incredibly important, but a step down from plotting and big cuts. These are things that you will need to look for not only in the first draft, but in all subsequent ones, hints that are better taken onboard over time than ones you attempt to do all at once.

Without further ado…

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Something you need to know on your road to self-publishing

Jean's Writing

Should you use both CreateSpace and IngramSpark?

Maybe. That’s the short answer.

However, it does depend on what you hope to accomplish with your book.

  • Will it be an ebook only? Like Kindle?
  • Do you want to see your book in print?
  • Do you want it available in libraries and bookstores?

Me? I think printing with both distributors is the way to go.

But please for the love of God, I hope you can avoid some of my mistakes. Although, I didn’t crash and burn, I did bang up my poor little book a bit along the road to self-publishing. This was not a happy trip.

car-943256_640Sheesh, I’m a slow learner sometimes. Hopefully, you will benefit from my mistakes.

First, let’s start with what the two distributors do or don’t offer.


  • Easy to use.

CreateSpace provides an easy to use MS Word template for you to set up your book.

  • Free.


CreateSpace provides a free ISBN number for both your print…

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Writing For Young Audiences

Five Writers

by Jennie Jarvis

Last month, I had the privilege of moderating a panel at the Florida Writers Conference on writing for young audiences. Speaking on the panel were the following dynamic writers: New York Times Bestselling Author Beth Revis, Comic Book writer/editor, Graphic Novelist and YA Author Roland Mann, award winning children’s book author and screenwriter Julie Anne Wight, Young Adult novelist Sarah Nicholas, and agent Laura Zats. As you can imagine, this panel was really well attended, especially with so many Young Adult books are being turned into Hollywood blockbusters.


Being a Young Adult novelist myself, I was delighted to have the chance to dive into the minds of these successful writers and ask them how they craft works for audiences that are very different from themselves – age wise, at least. Plus, I got to take some really silly fan photos of myself with…

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