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E. Tiefenbrunn Articles


Writing A Short Story

Lots of people have ideas for stories they want to write but do not know how to start or finish them. Well, getting started can actually be pretty simple. Finishing has always been difficult for me. According to Joe Bunting, there are seven steps to writing a short story. These steps are: write the basic story, figure out who the protagonist is, write the perfect first line, create your scene list, research, write/edit/write/edit…, and publish.

Step one is to write the general idea of your story down. Do not try to just jump in and write all the details and dialogue. Write what the story is going to be about in a basic way. It is best to do this in one sitting. If you don’t get it written down and you leave it for too long, you could forget where you were going with it.

Step two is to figure out who all of your characters are. You don’t have to know all of your characters’ backstories right away but they will be crucial for the actual story. Your character’s backstory could explain why they act the way they do.

Have you ever seen the TV series “Avatar The Last Airbender”? Zuko, the Fire Nation prince,was always angry and acted like a villain. It is said in the series that this is because all he wants is his father’s approval and to restore his honor. He feels and acts this way because when he was younger he spoke out of turn and accidentally disrespected his father. He refused to duel his father so his father burned the left side of his face. If we didn’t know this backstory we would just think of him as this really grumpy villain.

Step three is to write the first line of your story. It might seem a little silly that one sentence would have it’s own step. But the first sentence of your story could determine whether your story is worth reading or not. Essentially the first sentence of your story needs to captivate the readers. It needs to be perfect (by your standards).

Step four, write a scene list. In this step you need to write out all of the major scenes and when and where they take place. This will help keep your story organized. It is subject to change though. If you change your mind on where or when or even how you want something to happen that’s fine. The list is not set in stone so you do not have to follow it exactly.

Step five, research. You might be thinking “wouldn’t it better to research first?” but actually that would hurt you rather than help you. It would most likely change your story. Doing no research at all would make your story seem underdeveloped. The reasoning behind research is that it will help you add details that are accurate.

Step six is to write and edit. This is the step where you write out everything. Every detail, every piece of dialogue, every action, and every scene. Then once you have written everything you get to edit. Editing is when you go over the story multiple times looking for any kind of mistake or anything you think you would like to change. This step kind of repeats a few times until you feel that your story is absolutely perfect and there is nothing to change.

Step seven is publishing. Publishing can go many different ways so we won’t get too much into that. Getting your story written is the most important thing for this step. This is because you cannot publish an unwritten piece; it is physically impossible. In addition before getting your piece published, it would be good to get some feedback.

So now that you know the seven steps to writing a short story, try them out. Hopefully these steps will help you. I cannot wait to use them myself. Happy writing!




Color Guard

Have you ever watched the halftime show at a high school football game? The cheerleaders and dance team do their dance routines and then the band comes on the field. The announcer asks the drum major if their band is ready and they do a little salute. The band stands like statues waiting for the drum major to give the command to start. As the band marches and plays their instruments, you see people in uniform that are different from the band’s. They spin flags, guns, and the occasional sword, or they might even be dancing. Some people call them the flag people but the correct name for them is the color guard.

Typically in Marching Band there is a theme to the show like Ragnarok or Pandora: Reopened. These themes are portrayed in the music. The color guard’s job is to tell the story. They do this with their routines, equipment, and uniforms. There are lots of different equipment for color guard but the main three are flags, rifles (the gun), and sabers (the swords). Which equipment is used is determined be the theme.

Lots of people have said that marching band and color guard is easy but if the actually did it they would realize there is more to it than walking around twirling things and playing an instrument. There are lots of small details that have to be just right or it would not look the way it should. On of these details is that when marching all odd counts have to be on the left foot and the even counts on the right. Another is posture. Posture has to be perfect.

Color guard is not easy. The color guard has to perform, smile, act, count, dance, toss, spin, and avoid hitting people all at the same time. This all has to be uniform as well. In other words everyone has to do the same things, the same way, at the same time. If it isn’t it looks sloppy. They also have to be graceful while doing all of this.

The band and color guard do not just perform at the home football games they have competitions too. At these competitions they perform their show without losing focus. They are judged on individual equipment, individual movement, design, and general effect. Each of these things is worth twenty points. The judges are typically in the pressbox. Occasionally there will be field judges too. If a performer hits them without hesitation they get extra points. Extra points will also be awarded if one of the color guard members hit a band member without becoming unfocused.

Most people consider color guard and marching band to be “just an activity”. When people say this they typically say this to diminish it and say that it is not a sport. While the definition of “activity”- a thing that a person or group does or has done- fits, so does the definition of “sport”. The definition is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. So it is both an activity and a sport.

So basically color guard is a sport that is not very easy. The members have to perform a show while smiling, acting, counting, dancing, tossing, spinning, and avoiding hitting people. They use equipment such as flags, rifles, and sabers to perform routines that tell the story of the show. They do compete in competitions where they go against other bands to win best band and best color guard. It takes a lot of hard work and attention to detail. It may not be easy but from personal experience, it is a whole lot of fun and is worth the hard work.