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So You Want To Write a Vignette?

Kato

Plain with Left Beef
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Published by SLP
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All good and useful advice. The bits that stand out are:

- Write in one sitting (if possible) - best for keeping the flow of a single piece, and making it 'feel' like one scene. My best vignettes (as in the ones I'm most pleased with) were single sittings. Trapped took all day, but it is a bloated monster. A Lucky Day was similarly a single evening, with some minor polishing the next morning before posting. The Girl in the Moon was a single sitting and completely unplanned beyond the opening sentence - which is probably why it has a pretentious stream-of-consciousness feel to it.

- Having a 'mood' soundtrack/music reinforces the above - you're dipping into to one idea for a brief and self-contained moment, so if you can, fully acclimatise on a sensory level. Film soundtracks are very handy for this.

- Keep them lean and focused - a single plot thread, minimal but fleshed out characters, and the barest minimum of exposition. I've tended to break the last of these a lot in the past (and probably still do). The peril of specifically AH-genre stories is the compulsion to feeling that you ought to detail how the world is different, and thereby to justify the story as "AH enough". But as a reader I find that subtle hints and asides are quite enough to establish a setting. Without wanting to be too prescriptive, devote the limited word-count you have to focusing on what matters most in telling the story.


But this is just me repeating what you've already said well enough.

As an aside, its gratifying to see how many people have taken up the monthly prompts, and how many people plug their entries in their forum signatures. I hope that running the Challenge has provided a useful nuclei around which to build another part of this community - and one which is specifically writing-driven outside of the Chat subforums.
 

Kato

Plain with Left Beef
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Birmingham
Pronouns
she/her
As a general comment - this series is definitely a 'must read' for anyone interested in improving their craft.
 

David Flin

A house of larks and owls
As an aside, its gratifying to see how many people have taken up the monthly prompts ... I hope that running the Challenge has provided a useful nuclei around which to build another part of this community - and one which is specifically writing-driven outside of the Chat subforums.
I agree a great deal.

In the end, the Chat forums are peripheral to the site. Interesting and a place where one can, well, chat, but the writing part is rather central to the site as a whole.

I find vignettes really useful for ideas that may or may not end up going anywhere, or just trying out something different, or whatever. I've heard some people say that they find writing a full TL intimidating, but that a vignette is nothing like as intimidating.

So very many thanks for organising the monthly challenges. One day I'll write something dark and disturbing for one.
 
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