/by Rachel Marsh/
ShortbreadStories’s mission statement states that we are ‘an online community of writers’, but despite our own definition, I think we are actually quite difficult to classify. ShortbreadStories, in my opinion, is a gloriously wonderful hodgepodge of writing, advice, publishing and inspiration. It’s a community; it’s a mentor; it’s our writing desk. And since we’re a little bit of everything, sometimes the site can be a bit confusing. So, today’s blog is going to take the topic: ‘How to Use ShortbreadStories’.
There are five ShortbreadStories elements of which you should be aware:
Within each of these elements, we have implemented tools to promote specific outcomes, and these outcomes are motivated by aspects of our mission statement. The second part of this mission statement reads, ‘Besides providing a worldwide showcase for their work, Shortbread Stories aims to build self-confidence in writing ability through the mentoring, advice and encouragement forthcoming from both its writing and reading community.’
Below you will find a break down of how to use the site:
Outcome: Get you to write
Tools: The writing desk and submission of stories
Motivation: We hope that by giving authors a place to share their work it will facilitate writing. (It’s as simple as that.)
How to Use the Writing Tools: Write a story and put it up on the site. (Yes, it’s that simple)
Outcome: Provide a space for readers and writers of short stories to come together
Tools: The plethora of short stories and audio stories on the site.
Motivation: The original premise of ShortbreadStories was to provide a space for the public to read all types of new creative writing, especially short stories. So far, I think we’ve done that.
How to Use the Writing Tools: On the ShortbreadStories website, go to the navigation bar at the top and roll over ‘Read and Listen’. This will give you options to browse by genre, recent stories, popular stories, or just have a scroll through our catalog in alphabetical order. You can read the stories online or download them as a pdf. You can read them on a train, on a plane, on a beach or at home. Just read and share.
Objective: To inspire and motive authors to write.
Tools: The newsletter, competitions, audio stories and writing tips.
Motivation: All authors need that little push now and then. We hope that by providing inspirational tips and writing goals through competitions, we can help Shortbreaders become stronger and more prolific authors.
How to Use the Writing Tools: You don’t need to enter every competition, tackle every writing tip, or answer every rhetorical question posted in the newsletter. However, when you feel like you just can’t get those words on the page, then it may be time to have a go at a themed competition or writing tip.
Objective: Support and encouragement for writers.
Tools: The comments section, the forum, and ShortbreadStories the blog
Motivation: We’ve probably said it 100 times, but it is worth repeating…what makes ShortbreadStories so wonderful is the community. Shortbreader interaction has caused the site to grow, and it is the friendly, supportive and inclusive nature of the site that drives many of the story submissions.
How to Use the Writing Tools: If you read a story, leave a comment. Or if you have a thought, question or topic of discussion, begin a forum thread or join one that’s already in existence. If you’re a blogger, follow the ShortbreadStories blog (shortbreadstories.wordpress.com) and link to us. And remember, ShortbreadStories isn’t only about interacting with those in the community who we have known for years, we’re also about welcoming new members.
Objective: Provide useful information on writing and publishing.
Motivation: Writing can be such a lonely process, as well as a very confusing one. Between the mechanics of writing and changes in the publishing industry, no one writer can keep up with all the information out there. ShortbreadStories hopes to provide its members with information, so that they can hone their craft to the best of their ability.
Tools: Blog posts and articles, courses, forums and community interaction.
How to Use the Writing Tools: Once again, you don’t have to join in every forum, read every article, or strike up a conversation with everyone on the site. However, we encourage Shortbreaders to use the site as and when they need it. Not every article on our front page is going to pertain to every member, but hopefully we will – at some point — tackle something that interests you.
Essentially, the best thing to remember about ShortbreadStories is that it can be whatever you want it to be. If you need someone to discuss an idea with, pop into a forum. If you want feedback on a story, ask the community. If you need a little inspiration, tackle a competition. If you need some one-on-one guidance, take a course. Just remember, we’re here to support you, and if we’re able to host some really fantastic fiction along the way, then that’s even better.