Short stories are designed to deliver their impact in as few pages as possible. A tremendous amount is left out, and a good short story writer learns to include only the most essential information. – Orson Scott Card
A lot of the writing that is published online should ideally be very short. Online, readers get bored easily and are not likely to return to a page more than once. So if you want to make your mark on the online publishing world, you need to learn how to ‘deliver your impact’ within the word count range that most online forums will ask of you.
So why publish online? There are a number of reasons. For the love of it. As a precursor to your work in print. To reach the audience of young internet savvy readers. Take your pick. Whatever your reasons for writing online, whatever your form of writing; short fiction, political or social commentary, business or inspirational writing, make sure that it actually gets read, by first of all making it interesting enough, and by keeping it to the appropriate length.
So how will you be able to tell the appropriate length? Here’s a tip, stumble into online writing that is not your own. Start reading. Note the point at which your mind starts to wander and you click on another tab to check if new mail came in. Either the piece is absolutely boring for you, badly written, not in your scope of interest, or yeah, you hit the average word limit for online readers, circa 800 words. Of course, your piece can be longer, if there’s a story to be told and you are doing it well. But don’t get too carried away.
You’ll also need to keep your paragraphs short. Looking at a computer screen can make your eyes tired fast. Another thing to note is that online writing must be accessible to anyone. The average person with a high school reading level must be able to understand what you’re talking about. This is why you need to keep your vocabulary simple. An easy rule is that if you don’t use the word in everyday conversation, don’t use it. Make your writing read like you are talking to the audience.
Do you have anything that you know for sure will help other writers? Please post in the comments section of the post; the things you think have helped you personally.
And now for this week’s readings.
We begin with the tale of ‘a birthday cake’ and the efforts and insights that go into acquiring it in Birthday Cake by Munene Kilongi
Have you ever met an enlightened ‘old friend’ just back from ‘abroad’, who suddenly realises that his home country’s system just does not work. Hmm… Mwenda Riungu did, and he has something to say about that in We can also make it work.
Kate looked across the room at Alex and Becky who were looking very happy together. She on the other hand had a big plastic smile that hid the hate in her heart. “Stupid bitch. She will pay for stealing my man.” Kate and Alex by Raychel Gachango
A man who seems to have everything in his family, discovers that he has likely endangered it all in The Spare Wheel by Jackson Kimani Ngige
What can a girl say when she finds the one true love of her life, and then loses him? Mirages by Mercy Ojwang’
And what do you do when a date kinda jolts you? Facebook? Prepare Your Head… By Fidel Ongollah
Do you have any ideas about how to make your weekly reading more fun? Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org today. And remember, all stories published on the Storymoja Blog will be eligible for the Crown of Story of the Week. The stories are posted every Monday. Please critique and vote for the story you believe should wear the crown. At the end of the week, the votes will be tallied and the story with the most votes will posted on the Storymoja Website as the Story of the Week on the Friday of the same week. To have your story in this weekly process please send it to email@example.com before Friday at 4pm.