Sep 062007

If you plan to write any stories concerning Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year, I have one very important piece of advice for you.

Holiday Writing Tip #1: Start now.

Yes I know it’s August and that doesn’t exactly inspire you to write about Santa or pumpkins, but you have to write that story now. Why? Because the holidays are a notorious bad time to get anything creative done. It is the one time of year where your job and your family demand that shit get done now so that your end of the year reports are done and Mom has her annual family photo session. You are going to be so busy, all you will have time for is enjoying someone else’s holiday story.

Holiday Writing Tip #2: Keep it upbeat.

There is a tendency around the winter months to get thoughtful. That is good. What is not good is when you start tying in the winter into the dying of the soul of a sexually frustrated marriage. There are some really good depressing holiday stories out there but ones people remember, treasure and write you fan mail years later are the stories that lift people up during the holidays. In the end it is your choice to follow your muse, but I really believe that during a stressful holiday season, you will do more good for yourself and your readers with a happy story.

Holiday Writing Tip #3: Break out the Holiday magic.

People who will never pick up a Harry Potter book will instantly buy into the idea of angels earning their wings and hats that bring snowmen to life. I have a theory that the winter months make people want to believe in something because subconsciously they are afraid the sun will never come back, but the reason is not important to you. The important thing for you is to not shy away from doing something a little magical in your story. Magic is like Plot Lubricant, it makes things go easier and things happen now. Experiment with your own desires and see where it takes you.

The great part about magic is that there is no wrong way to do it. It Warlock Steve sends you an angry note saying that you completely screwed up how magic hats work, then you have a funny letter to share with your friends.

Holiday Writing Tip #4: Avoid Parodies.

I know. The easiest thing in the world to write is a dirty version of a classic. People will sing your praises and call you smart and sexy. They will also forget your story as soon as they read the next parody of the same thing you sexed up. Parodies are forgettable and common. Look at how often television programs do their version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ or ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. Do you really want to take story advice from television shows?

Take the chance to make your own immortal holiday story with an original idea. You’ll happier with yourself if you do.

Holiday Writing Tip #5: Write AFTER the Holiday

When all else fails, the best time to write a holiday theme story is right after the holiday in question. You have been bombarded with holiday theme stories, movies, television shows and advertisements, you might as well write about it with it fresh in your mind and save it for next year. At this point you know what you’re sick of and more importantly, you know what you wish you had seen. I know it’s weird to write a story you don’t plan to post for a year but look at it this way, that story is done and next Christmas or Halloween you have time to actually do something.

  4 Responses to “Holiday Story Tips”

  1. That actually is pretty good advice. I’ve only done a few holiday-themed stories (Chocolate Basket and Special Treats) and I’ve always done them a week after the holiday in question.

  2. Sorry to steal t’sade’s first sentence but it’s what popped in my head whilst reading,
    ‘that’s some pretty good advice’ lol.

    Am speaking seriously though, never thought of it that way before. Any holiday related stories that tend to be written around the time turn out well, but can’t say I’ve done too many.

    As it is, I’m fighting to keep my characters alive for a story I sped wrote for a competition (and won somehow >.>), but I wrote 1/3 of it, cause I was hitting their word limit.
    So I told myself to break a bad habit of mine and finish it, if I win, but am finding myself incredibly busy to sit down and focus.
    Just keep trying to go over the plot in my head so I don’t forget anything (I hope)
    Just wondered if you ever had trouble finishing stories, even if the entire plot was already in your mind?

    Mystique ^^

  3. t’sade- I always get my best romance stories after Valentine’s Day :)

    Mystique- Thank you for today’s post :) If I didn’t anwser your question, there is always Monday.

  4. Mystique: I always hate that. I’m working on a Japanese theme story and while I have every single thing in my head, when I start to write it down, absolutely nothing comes out.

    I’ve had a few commissions that I’ve done that involved me writing it again and again, or doing everything in the world BUT finish the commission. I get it done eventually, but I hate when I can’t just sit down and four hours laters have a 10k word story.

    On the other hand, there are days when I can’t stop at 20k and everything just falls into perfect place.

    One of the things I have the most trouble with is thinking too much about a story. For me, the more I think about a scene or action, it looses its “energy” because I’m enjoying it. When I got to write, I’ve already tapped the exciting its of the story so I struggle.

    And, as part of the writing process, it looses its energy for me. I’ve never been able to get off on a scene I wrote, after I wrote it. The idea is dead to me, but the words shimmer with everything I put into them.

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