Kenneth Steven on Short Story Writing 4th March 2015

On 4th March, Ayr Writers’ Club had the privilege of welcoming a great poet and short story writer Kenneth Steven. Kenneth started the evening with a short resume of his latest work, went on to give advice on how to write a great short story or poem When asked his preferred genre Kenneth responded by pointing out that he was a natural poet at heart with poems coming easier to him than the short story. Later on when asked, “What is a short story?”
He replied simply, “I don’t know. I just know when one happens.”
He also pointed out that for him, it is better to write a short story in one go, as tomorrow he will have changed. This also holds true for his poetry.
He added, “You should never worry a poem on to the page in drips and drabs.”
During his speech, Kenneth also confessed to preferring to write with a pen on a piece of paper in the comfort of a secluded, quiet place, as opposed to using a more modern way on a computer keyboard in any location that has background noise.
When giving tips on writing, he advised that you should make every sentence count, and try to keep the story as sharp as possible. It is better to focus on one strong character than to create two half baked ones and it’s always better to show, not tell in a short story.
Later on in the evening Kenneth gave some well appreciated advice on editing your piece once the first draft is done. These pieces of advice were as follows:
• If you found something important in the first draft keep it (and pay it homage).
• Leave first proof reading for the maximum of one day, so that you are still emotionally attached to the piece you have written.
• And lastly to ask questions of your written piece.
After an evening full of fun and helpful advice at Ayr Writers’ Club, we rounded off the night by asking Kenneth, “What is the best thing that you have written?”
His thoughtful response was, “The best thing I have written is always the last thing I have written.”
Kenneth went on to read his latest poem which brought an excellent evening to an end.
Martin Bone

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