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Old 01-07-2014, 03:23 PM View Post #1 (Link) Tips for writing short stories?
inkspiration262 (Offline)
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Hi everyone!

Happy New Year. Having only recently started writing fairly frequently I really want to start a project and get it finished. Just to see if I can complete something of a reasonable standard.

So I have decided upon a short story, which I know can be different to writing a novel. Just wondering if anyone has any tips on how to structure or form a good short story. I don't need ideas for subject matter, just tips from people who have done it.

Any help appreciated
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:18 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Spiders (Offline)
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Start where you want to start and end where you want to end; everything else can be rearranged in the edit, but those two points are, IMO, vital to consider. Else you can end up rambling or losing focus, an in a more confined project that's a less desirable way to go. But it ultimately depends on the way you write.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:17 PM View Post #3 (Link)
owl (Offline)
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The problem with giving advice about how to structure or form a short story is that short story is an umbrella term -- it contains within it a lot of variation, from the very short to the relatively expansive. Short fiction can be less than 100 words; it can be 10,000 words. A 100 word piece of flash fiction will have very different demands on it than a piece that is significantly longer.

My advice is twofold. First, read short fiction. I recommend Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, William Trevor and Nam Le, as well as anything unlocked on the New Yorker. George Saunders' "Tenth of December" is especially good. I found this story in DIAGRAM by Jenny Zhang to be devestating (not for the faint of heart, rather explicit); so is "Meredith's Story" by Eleanor Boudreau (super creepy, not explicit).

These writers and stories tend to fall on the longer end of the spectrum -- that's to my taste. If you want examples of shorter short fiction, I recommend reading the periodical Wigleaf. There are many others out there publishing great work, but I'm not especially familiar with them (outside of DIAGRAM, which publishes shorter short fiction and experimental work more often than pieces like those by Zhang and Boudreau.)

Second, listen to your story/your gut. Alas and alack, this is the least helpful advice out there, but each story has unique demands that it will place on form. However, don't be afraid to simplify. I don't know if other people have this problem, but I'd imagine you might if you're coming off writing a novel: it is very tempting to make the plot or conceit very elaborate, and in the hands of an experienced short story writer it is possible to pull something very delicate and complicated off. It is difficult. Short fiction is at its best -- and I think this was the thrust of Spiders' point, though I could be wrong -- when it's focused. That doesn't mean, necessarily, that you stick to a perfectly linear narrative; but it does mean that, when revising at least, you are aware that every part of a short story fulfills a role in that short story. If you can't bring narrative focus to far-flung events in a few thousand words then it's not throwing in the towel to reconsider those events. This was a hard-learned lesson for me.
						Last edited by owl; 01-08-2014 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:06 AM View Post #4 (Link)
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I delved a little into writing short stories in the past, and one of the things I found was that you need to get to the point. This is something I learned from my previous Literature professor.

You see, with a novel, you have 500 paperback pages or so to spend slowly building up to the main plot action and weaving in in-depth descriptions. However, with a short story, you're condensing everything to a few short pages. So, you need to eliminate the details that are not necessary to keep the story focused on only everything that is important, allowing just the right amount of description to satisfy the reader while not making it too long.

I hope this helps some.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:25 AM View Post #5 (Link)
rogerafrance (Offline)
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Identify The Heart Of Your Story -Explore your motivations, determine what you want your story to do, then stick to your core message.

See Things Differently-A unique, unexpected voice can provide the most compelling, focused experience of the central story.

Opposites Attract-Elements that work against your character’s central desire will keep the reader intrigued and prevent your story from getting stuck.

Craft A Strong Title-This can be one of the most difficult but one of the most important parts of writing your story

Shorter Is Sweeter-With a shorter short story, you will have more markets available to you and thus a better chance of getting published.
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Old 04-16-2017, 10:50 AM View Post #6 (Link)
Mudy (Offline)
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Very priceless recomendation
						Last edited by Mudy; 06-09-2017 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 06-20-2017, 12:34 PM View Post #7 (Link)
DavidButt (Offline)
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Introduction: characters, scene, time, weather, etc.
Primary action: what was the beginning.
The development of the plot: events leading to a climax or turning point.
Culmination: the most intense, turning point in history.
Completion of action: conclusion of history.
Decoupling: the end of history with the decision of the central conflict or not. You do not need to write a story in that order.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:11 AM View Post #8 (Link)
tangomaria (Offline)
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my main advice is to jump right in. world building is super critical, but sadly in a short story you don't have much room to do so. so let the dialogue and action build the world for you. jump straight into the action
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:20 AM View Post #9 (Link)
annamarsh (Offline)
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Hi. How are you all?
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:42 AM View Post #10 (Link)
DenLee (Offline)
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To write short stories I usually keep the following plan
Set up the Plot
Create some Conflict
Build to a Crisis
Deliver a Resolution

That`s it.

Hope it works.
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