Every piece of prose is a chance for a writer to learn new, exciting things.

Here are 5 things I learned from Writing My Short Story, The Martian Flu.

Just Publish It Already!

I found The Martian Flu manuscript tucked away in the depths of a folder on my computer with the completion date of February 2015!

I had totally forgotten about it.

I also forgot that I already had it edited, and I simply needed to go over the edits one final time.

I had a practically finished story ready to be published for over two years!

I would recommend writers to keep track of their manuscript’s state (whether it is a first draft, second draft, edited, etc.) and to “write-publish-repeat” in order to sidestep this misstep I made.

What Was Is Gone (Passive Voice)

I also just finished improving my passive voice elimination skills.

I tend to use the word “was” a lot. A lot.

And The Martian Flu happened to be my first modern story to reap the benefits of my improved skills.

Check out articles on eliminating passive voice online.

It will surely help improve your writing. I know it helped mine.

Pick A Detail, Any Detail

Details are important, but it is also important not to write too many details.

I got rid of many descriptions of The Martian Flu’s protagonists, namely descriptions of how he felt.

Sometimes, I would have three descriptions where one would suffice.

Too many descriptions lessons the impact of each descriptor as far as I am concerned.

By using less, I helped the reader focus on the remaining descriptions that mattered.

End Sooner Rather Than Later

I wrote an additional paragraph to end The Martian Flu but ended up cutting it.

Why? It did not need to be there, that’s why.

It takes practice but every writer can eventually gain a gut instinct for cutting what is truly unnecessary.

The ending I kept for publication does a great job of wrapping up the story nicely.

Speak Up!

It is a good thing I read The Martian Flu out loud before publication.

I spotted a few errors I would not have if I did not read it out loud.

Reading your story will also allow you to hear how your story sounds.

Often times this will help you hear choppy sentences or sentences that go on for too long.

Reading aloud helped me spruce up this short story, that is for sure.


Whether you are a reader or writer, I hope you enjoyed reading about 5 things I learned from writing my short story, The Martian Flu.

If you would like to learn more about my exciting new short story, The Martian Flu, click this link.