Yesterday I shared about the first phase of writing for an anthology—picking the right story.
But then you might have the greatest story known to mankind but unless you deliver it correctly—it will fall flat.
So you have your idea and now you start to write. I usually like to compose my ending before I go to all that work—also I like to think about the story’s appeal. That leads me to talk about what I call the “Ah-ha” factor.
Some of my stories that didn’t make it were not well written. Some were downright boring. But most lacked that perfect ending.
When I wrote for the Beach Lover's book—I wrote a story about beaches. But not just about beaches—there was also an underlying story. I wrote about a mother’s greatest fear—losing her child. I brought in that part as the story moved along building it in the middle of the story. But by the ending, I had to be sure the reader was not only satisfied but “got it.”
When I finish reading a short story—I want to read that final sentence and say “Yes!” or “Wow” and feel totally satisfied that the author gave me a great read. I want to nod my head and sit back and say “I understand. I've felt that too."
I call this my Ah-ha factor—giving a deeper meaning behind the story. Creating emotion. Not falling flat with the story. There has to be more behind the simple story you tell. You can’t just tell how you sang in the school play and thought it went well—you have to tell how you grew from a gangly insecure pimply faced teenager into a person who became confident to live her dreams.
Always try to shoot for a bigger meaning when telling your Chicken Soup story—but make it subtle—make it real--let the reader be the one to say—“Oh yeah, I know what she means.”