I studied fiction in college, and part of my degree required me to learn a lot of different styles of fiction writing. For the most part, it was all short story writing. But the style I kept going back to, kept taking more and more classes in, was Nano Fiction.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well, for one thing, writing is writing. Despite what form you plan to write in, it’s a good idea to learn at much as you can, to try out as many different styles as you can, to hone your craft. I know my studies in short stories and playwriting have helped me out when I hit blocks in my manuscripts. That knowing different forms and styles has helped me free up my own writing style, and kept me open to the idea of experimenting.
But, specifically, now that I’m dabbling in MG, I’ve noticed how my studies in Nano Fiction are really being put to use. With Nano Fiction, every single word matters. You don’t have the page space for a lot of extraneous description or dialogue. It’s minimalist to the extreme, and still has to get the story/message across. But, even though the form is so small, you can’t dumb it down. Your writing needs to be smart and thought out in order to be successful.
It’s the same with MG.
You never want to dumb down the story for the reader, but still, you want it to be accessible in a short, to-the-point form. It needs to be smart. It needs to be thought out. You don’t have the space to waste on long, flowery descriptions or unnecessary dialogue. It’s hyper focused, but still has to entertain. To transport. The story has to hit fast and keep up a sharp clip. You have to get the major points of each scene across, and still keep your reader wanting more.
It’s a difficult balance. Which is probably why I’m having so much fun.
Spending so many semesters studying Nano Fiction is really paying off. I know how to filter my (mostly rambling) thoughts down to a concentrated sentence. I can keep my words sharp and direct. I can focus descriptions, keep dialogue snappy, keep the plot flowing.
Or, at least, I plan too. It’s too early to tell.
At the very least, this will all come in handy when I start editing.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any good writing tricks/tools?