In Ten Seconds The Bomb Will Go Off And Destroy The City (Tension And Conflict)Written by Jeff Colburn
Which of following sentences shows more tension to you?
"The bomb will go off in a month, we have plenty of time to disarm it. Hey, do you want to play a round of golf?" Or "My god, look at timer. Ten seconds and bomb goes off. We'll never get away. We're going to die."
Which of following sentences shows more conflict to you?
"Full house? Wow, you win Jim. Want to play another hand? Or "Jim, you cheatin' snake, these cards are marked," Sam growled as he pulled out a gun from his waistband. "Give me back by twenty grand or I'll blow your damn head off."
Virtually every story needs some kind of conflict and tension. They spice things up and make story more interesting to readers. You can find them in earliest children's books. "The Little Engine That Could," where a train engine struggles to climb a steep hill. "Jimanji," where children struggle to complete game and avoid injury and death. "Cinderella," where main character must contend with her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Conflict, and its resolution, is what makes people want to turn page to see what happens next.
Conflict can occur between many aspects of a story. It can happen between characters, proverbial "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys." Between characters and nature, as in "The Perfect Storm" and "Moby Dick." Conflict can even occur between one character. "I want to do it, but I know I shouldn't, but I can't help myself."
Don't Worry, Be Happy, AND WRITE!Written by Jeff Colburn
How long should my story be? Who should I send it to? What do I put in cover letter?I don't have any credits, what now? Do these questions go through your mind as you sit down to write a story? If so, then read on. As former Grand Poobah of Science Fiction Forum at Inkspot, I dealt with many new, and not so new, writers. The questions they asked have revealed a common thread among them, fear. If you're one of these writers, let me give you a word of advice. Relax!
First of all, don't concern yourself about submission guidelines, story length, chapter length, precise genre typing of your story and all other technical stuff. Especially if you haven't even started writing your story. Until your story is finished, these questions, and other related topics, are basically irrelevant. Just write your story. Stories take on a life of their own and create their own length and flow.
After writing, edit without mercy. Make each word count. Be sure your scenes and characters are clear, alive and interesting. Include at least one conflict, and have that conflict resolved by end of story.
When your story is done, that's when you research markets and follow their guidelines. Even guidelines have some flexibility. Word count can be a "little" above or below what they say. If your word count is well above what they state, query publication to see if they ever serialize stories. After your research is done, mail off your manuscript and forget about it. Focus on new story your working on. You're working on a new story aren't you?
If your story is rejected, just file rejection letter, or throw it away, and submit manuscript to next publication on your list. Don't take rejection personally, because it's not. There are more reasons for rejection than I can count. The publication is full, a story like yours was just published or will soon be published, for some personal reason publisher didn't like it, your name is similar to name of someone publisher doesn't like, he read a story like yours a year ago and didn't like it and so on. But don't let this discourage you. If your story is good, and you know it is, it will be published. Your job as a writer is not to sweat details, but to write and get published. Stay focused on story, and don't confuse writing with research you must do to be published.
So focus on joy of writing, do job of submitting and have fun.
Following are some common questions, and their answers.
Q: What font should I use? A: Use Times New Roman set at 12 point.
Q: How long should a manuscript be? A: This varies according to each publisher, but here is a pretty accurate guideline. Short story - up to 7,000 words Novelette or Novella - 7,000 to 15,000 words Novel - over 15,000 words Graphic novel - 40 or more pages Book outline - 5 to 15 double spaced pages