Showing posts from December, 2020

Write Better Short Stories – Part 3

What do you need to include in your short story to ensure that it’s well-written and is a great read? Apart from a strong storyline, solid characters, established POV, a central theme, a setting and an idea of beginning, middle and end, the rest of the ‘meat’ of your story should concentrate on motivation, conflict, emotion, pace and that fine balance of narrative dialogue and description. Even in short stories, your main character needs motivation, so make sure your reader is aware of the reason your main character is doing what he’s doing, and acts and reacts to events and other characters. What problem must he overcome, what is his ultimate goal? Motivation drives your character. If there’s nothing within the story that motivates him, there is no story. You may not think that emotion and conflict are that important to a short story, given that there are fewer words in which to tell the story, but that’s not the case.   Even short stories need a certain amount of conflict to

Write Better Short Stories – Part 2

As part of the planning stage, in addition to the storyline, characters, point of view, central theme and where the action takes place, it’s worth outlining a beginning, middle and an end. You may not think this is necessary with a short story, but it can help keep you motivated during writing because sometimes things can slow to a halt, ideas dry up or you’re not sure which direction the story should go, so a rough outline helps to keep you on the right path and provides a framework around which the story can form. The Beginning Unlike novels, short stories must convey a lot of information in fewer words, so there isn’t much room to give the reader backstory or lots of background information, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include it – it just means you need to be more efficient in with your words. The beginning should start at an important or interesting moment in your protagonist’s life, or at a crisis point. There’s no room for half a page of explanation. Get right to the

Write Better Short Stories – Part 1

Short stories require writers to be economical – there’s a limited amount of words to work with, since most of the elements you find in a novel are condensed into a short story format, but that doesn’t mean the quality and depth of the story should suffer because of it. The key to a good short story is not what it’s about, but how it’s written. Get the structure right and the story will work. The best way to write better short stories is to start with a bit of planning. Lots of writers don’t plan, and prefer to ‘wing’ it, but the result is not always a well-crafted piece of fiction.   A story plan doesn’t have to be detailed. It can be a few paragraphs of ideas or scenarios, or a brief outline and some characters. It just needs to be enough to help you write your story, so you’ll want to include the following as you plan: Storyline Characters POV A central theme Setting the scene Beginning, middle and end Firstly, know what your story is about. Short stories don’