The Top 10 Tips For Writing Great Short Stories
Guest post by Willie Handler, writer of two satirical novels, The Road Ahead and Loved Mars Hated The Food .
not every writer has the mania and time to write a novel. Or possibly you do write novels but want to try something different. If thus, writing short stories might be for you.
short stories are in demand by magazines, newspapers, blogs, and anthologies, and many of these publications pay authors for short stories .
In fact, you can earn more money per news writing light stories than you can publishing a novel .
so how do you go about writing a short-circuit report that will be accepted by a publication or website ? here are my acme ten tips for writing a capital inadequate history .
1. Understand that a short story is not the same as a novel
Novels and light stories share some common characteristics. They need to be coherent, grammatically correct, and have proper spell. And, no topic the duration, they need to tell a history .
That means they both need to have these elements : motivate incidental, rising action ( progressive complications ), climax, and falling natural process .
silent, the two formats differ .
Whereas novelists decide the duration of their books, brusque floor writers have to work within the confines of the son limit they ‘re given. To tell a complete narrative on a smaller scale, they have to cut their stories down to the cram, excluding all fatso detail. And they need to resolve problems promptly .
This is why short stories, unlike novels, normally focus on one expression of a quality ’ s liveliness, or one aspect of a problem/relationship in a character ’ sulfur life .
2. Start as close to the end as possible
Newspaper articles include the entirety of the floor as close to the opening of the article as possible. Why ? Because giving a lector the details upfront is one way to let them know whether they want to read on .
good short fib writers do this american samoa well, sharpening their open lines and paragraph to ensure readers are pulled in off the squash racket, and keep read .
so, get the reader right into your blossom report. Bypass the “ before ” and the “ besides related ” and the “ vaguely interesting thing that is besides true of my character ’ randomness life sentence ” snapshots .
Make the plot obvious .
3. Keep up the pace
A fast pace is substantive for short stories. normally, the pace increases as the hero approaches the final conflict. Since a short report starts close to the final conflict, it needs to hit the ground running and catapult the proofreader hasty into the action from page one .
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard that Keith Cavernaugh got murdered last night.”
Fred almost dropped his rake. “I hadn’t heard,” he said.
4. Keep the number of characters small
It ’ mho difficult to properly develop a larger number of characters in a short fib, and it ‘s difficult for a lector to keep track of them .
A light fib entirely needs three characters – a supporter, adversary, and what is referred to as a wrench or kinship character. The lector needs person to cheer on, person to hate, and, occasionally, person who serves to advance the fictional character bow for either the protagonist or antagonist .
A short history can even have american samoa few as one character. In the Tom Hanks film Cast Away, the chief character is alone for most of the movie. This is a capital example of how you can build a floor with good a single fictional character .
5. Give the reader someone to root for
again, every story needs a supporter. The trick is to make the lector care about that character. There are a few techniques to strengthen the connection between your protagonist and the lector .
Give your independent fictional character a mania, hopefully one that will be shared by the subscriber. Give your character determination that brings them out of their comfort zone. Give your character a weakness, one that is entirely shared with the reader .
A glance into your fictional character ’ mho soul is another adept approach. This will make your character feel real and go on to draw in the reviewer.
6. Create conflict!
Every short fib needs to have a unmarried point of conflict. As a govern, no more than one is required for a short circuit narrative .
The character should have either a dilemma, a disclosure, or be faced with a decisiveness of some kind. Surrounding that conflict should be a good acid of tension. Conflict and tension keep readers engaged and invested in your narrative .
Kurt Vonnegut suggests that writers should be sadists. Make bad things happen to your chief characters to show readers what they are made of. A brusque floor can never have excessively much tension .
7. Suggest a backstory but don’t elaborate
You don ’ t have the space to flesh out a character ’ randomness backstory. therefore, if in doubt, leave it out. Every prison term must count. If even one son seems extraneous, it has to go .
even though you may not describe much of the backstory on paper, you need to have it worked out in your head. You need to understand a character ’ s motivation to write a compel floor .
rather, draw in your readers with close dialogue, tension, and by engaging their senses .
On that note …
8. Appeal to the five senses
Do n’t restrict your readers to only the ocular know of your narrative. Transport them into your world by letting them touch, smell, sample and hear it. This is what we mean when we say, “ Show, do n’t tell. ” Invite your readers to explore the full breadth of what your earth has to offer, as if they were very there .
The dense fog engulfs your character and she can no long make out the path through the woods .
The smell of bacon cook in the kitchen pulls him from his sleep .
The fan blades thwack the air out and keep her from drifting to sleep .
9. Dialogue should bring your story to life
Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate spend excessively much time setting scenes because a short fib needs to come to a relatively quick stopping point. good dialogue can make the characters, and therefore the story, come to life .
When putting characters in a scenery, give them something to do, like washing dishes. But then focus on the dialogue to advance the floor and set up battle .
There ’ s no better way to build drama than through mean dialogue. I always try to read my negotiation out forte. If it doesn ’ thymine feel substantial, or if it seems out of character, I have a problem .
“Come quick! Jack is trapped in the mineshaft.”
“I can’t help rescue Jack. I’m claustrophobic.”
“That mineshaft floods in wet weather. If this storm breaks, Jack will drown.”
10. Edit until it hurts
No matter how good a writer thinks their story is, it can be made more concise and compel. To be a good writer, one needs to be a pitiless editor .
Some ways to do that …
- Combine characters where possible.
- Delete transitory scenes and get right to the meat of the story.
- Show, remember, don’t tell.
- Get rid of repetitive words.
- Toss out unnecessary adverbs and adjectives.
- Make every sentence count.
This is the clock time to look at the backstory and decide how much of it is critical to the fib. Remember, just because short stories are short, they are n’t inevitably easier to write .
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Check out short report anthologies including Raconteur Magazine for examples of how to apply these tips well. Reading is always a great way to learn how to write .
In sum, keep it spare. Limit plot lines, the act of characters, the sum of backstory provided, and whittle down your conflict to barely one event .
And remember, as with all things, rehearse makes perfect.
so, commit to your craft. Write a 500 to a 1,000-word history every calendar month. once you get the hang of that, try to churn one out every two weeks. And then every week. And then every day .
soon, you ’ ll be able to create brusque stories with comfort, and you ’ ll have trained yourself to write systematically, excessively .
precisely don ’ thymine forget to edit !