For All The Non-Readers, This One Is For You

Cover of "Haunted : A Novel of Stories"

Cover of Haunted : A Novel of Stories

 

I would like to preface this blog by saying it is not for the faint-hearted  it contains a story with explicit content, it’s horrifying, hilarious and stomach-churning—read it at your own risk!

 

 

 

Sometimes I get caught up in the excitement of a book and can’t help telling absolutely everyone I meet to read it. I have friends who refuse to read and yet I still tell them the plot line, sometimes giving more detail than they’re interested in hearing. Usually they listen politely but I can see they’re really thinking they can’t imagine anything worse than reading it. Some people just don’t get the appeal, I’ve blogged about this before but it’s something that continues to bother me so for all those non-readers, this one is for you.

 

The most frequent thing I hear is that movies provide a much better source of entertainment because you can see them. I think a lot of people don’t realise how much you can see in your mind when you’re reading, it can be as vivid as any movie, if you disagree I have a challenge for you. Keep reading, if at the end of this blog you can honestly tell me you didn’t see every scene of the coming story then I will never hassle you about reading again! The fact is I know no one will.

 

Before we go any further I want to make sure you are all sufficiently warned, the story I’m about to direct you to cannot be unread so before you get started there’s something you should know.

 

This is a short story called Guts, it’s published in a book called Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. When the author went on tour to promote the book release, Guts is the story he chose to read. In total 73 people fainted when they heard it. When I found out about that I saw it as a personal challenge. So I read it. Despite the warning of the lovely gentleman who put me onto this book and the detailed account of what happened at the readings I figured it couldn’t be as bad as everyone had made out. Wrong. Seriously, it’s pretty bad. I didn’t faint but I was alone in my room where I could take breaks when it became too much, I don’t know how I would have fared in a warm and crowded room. If you think you can handle it, or your morbid curiosity is too engaged to go back, click the link below and read the story for yourself.

 

http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/shorts/guts

 

Now I dare you to tell me books aren’t as vivid as movies.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hemmingway Challenge

The Hemmingway Challenge

How many words does it take to write a story? Well someone bet Ernest Hemmingway he couldn’t write a complete story in six words, but he did.

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

It’s short and simple but heartbreaking and effective. Six words is all it took.

 

One of the most important pieces of advice for any writer, if you can write it with less words—do. It sounds simple but it actually takes a lot of practice. There are words we put into our sentences that often don’t need to be there. It makes for cleaner writing, there is less distraction for the reader and it means they can actually think for themselves.

One of the dangers writing a novel is the lack of restriction, you start off knowing you have all the words in the world, there’s no reason to keep your sentences concise because, let’s face it—the thicker your book the more impressive it is. Caught up in a creative moment it can be hard to write cleanly. I tend to use all the words I want and cut them out during editing, but if I could learn to write with less words, it would save me a lot of time in the long run.

To give you an idea of figures, I’ve just been editing 4 manuscripts with a total word count of 465 000, the story hasn’t changed at all but I managed to take out 39 000 completely useless words. Perhaps that’s the reason writers are encouraged to work on short stories first.

I’ve never been passionate about writing short stories and I haven’t read many either but I firmly believe it’s a great way to practice language. I recently read a book containing 23 short stories, initially I found it hard to get used to the style but towards the end I started to appreciate things the author didn’t say.  For the sake of self development I’ve decided to take the Hemmingway Challenge.

Here’s my six word story, it certainly isn’t Hemmingway but I know writers will relate.

—     Wrote it, read it, deleted it.

When I began researching for this blog I came across plenty of other authors taking the six word story challenge, here’s the link if you’re interested in reading a few more … and why not take the Hemmingway Challenge yourself?

www.sixwordstories.net