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QUESTION: Hi I am a young writer. I love to write, but when I start a story I can't stay with. Then I inspiration from other things and start a new one and then I can't stay with it and it just keeps repeating over and over. Since I am a young writer all I have is a notebook with paper and a pencil. No I have no computer that has like "Microsoft word"
or something I can write in like that(I do have a computer though). But that is not my problem. So the problem is I can't stay with a story I start I have about 7 stories that I started and didn't finish. Do you have any tips I can use to stay with my stories?

ANSWER: Dear Chloe,

Almost every good writer has the same difficulty. This is not unusual at all.

I'd suggest that you look back at each story and wrap it up quickly, with a beginning, middle, and end, covering no more than 12 to 14 pages, double-spaced. Then you will have a short story.

From there, all that's really left is the easy work; you can simply go through the manuscript and add two or three paragraphs of dialogue, narrative, etc., after each paragraph that you have already written, thus extending the short story -- so, by the time you reach the end, the story will have worked itself out (it does do this, seriously, almost like "magic") -- a good story takes on a life of its own and begins to tell YOU where it wants to go, not the opposite. In other words, there does come a time when you have to surrender to the muse.

I hope this helps. If you have the need or desire to write at all, that means that you are clearly and unarguably a born writer; just have more patience with yourself, and you will do very well.

All Best,
Catherine Van Herrin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank You that is really going to help but on my starts they are really detailed which is good but should i summarize it and keep the pages written so i can add them in later or keep them in and do the rest.

Dear Chloe,

Just do a basic outline with as many or as few details as you see fit; this will suffice for the interim: When you are ready to "flesh the story out," so to speak, you will have all of your "Basic" cards on the table -- i.e., the outline, so you should have no trouble with this.

All Best,
Catherine Van Herrin

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Catherine Van Herrin


I am an American-born, native English speaker with a BA in English and more than 26 years of professional editing, writing, and proofreading experience. I have edited several books and book-length manuscripts. References and titles available upon request.

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