Posts Tagged ‘Short Story Writing’

How YOU can Write a Short Short Story

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Benjamin Franklin says it all: “I have already made this paper too long, for which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it shorter.” Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”

The most common question which pops up in various contests I’ve judged, is: “My story is longer than the guideline’s length. May I submit it all?”

No! Writing short requires a much-needed skill. Revise so your story is written succinctly.

Below is advice on writing a short story of 100 words. It can be applied to all stories.

My favorite tidbit is this: “Think of the story in terms of a question and answer.”

Your answer will become the plot of your story. But brainstorm lots of options! If it’s too easy, your option may be too convenient.

Writing Prompt:
1. Take a story you’ve written and tighten it. Can you cut out 100 words? More? Once you challenge yourself, the process can be fun and addicting!
2. Read your story aloud. Where have you “told” information? Can you show it with an action verb instead?
3. Choose a poem you’ve created and do the process of #1 and #2. Is the end result more vivid?

Cutting out vague words sharpens your writing and respects the reader to make conclusions. Use this new technique with all of your writing!

The Sun Magazine

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The Sun

I picked up a copy of this magazine and didn’t put it down until I had finished the entire copy.  Have you read it?  Short stories, essays, interviews, poetry and letters all written with depth, humor, and insight.  They don’t want opinion pieces or academia.  The best thing is they purchase one-time rights, which means you can sell them something you may have sold before. 

One section is devoted to Readers Write, which asks “readers to address subjects on which they’re the only authorities.  Topics are intentionally broad in order to give room for expression.” 

 Upcoming Topics

Breaking the Rules       January 1      Deadline             

Bullies                                    February 1            

In The Dark                        March 1                                        

Honesty                                April 1                                              

Trying Again                     May 1                                                 

Writing Prompts: 

  1. Choose one of the topics above and write a personal experience piece on this theme. 
  2. Choose one of the topics above and write a short story.
  3. Choose one of the topics and write a poem.



So You Are Writing A Short Story . . .

Monday, March 29th, 2010

 . . . is it too short?  How can a short story be too short?  You’ve read your story and it has a beginning, middle and an end.   Your character wanted something, at first she couldn’t get it, she worked at her problem, and then she succeeded.  The end. 

But perhaps, just maybe, your story MIGHT be slight.   GASP!  NO!  It’s perfect!

Read it again.  Does your character REACT to a situation that has happened?  If a problem has occurred – – a robbery at the bank.  She’s failed a math test. Do you take time to “slow-down-the-moment” for the exciting or important part of the story?  This will add suspense or emotional depth.

How do you slow it down a bit?  Make your story deeper and not “slight?”  Get into your main character’s head.  What is she thinking?  Feeling?  Get all of her senses going.  Does she break into a sweat?  Start shaking?  Make sure she REACTS to the important things that happen to her.

Writing Prompt:

In a story you are working on, take a highlighter.  Highlight any portion where your character internalizes, or THINKS about her situation.

Take a different color pen or highlighter, and underline or highlight where your character has a PHYSICAL REACTION to what is going on.  What does she or he do?

Next, with another color, mark where your character talks.  Make sure it’s not “empty dialogue.”  But dialogue that your character needs to say to move the story along. 

Finally, read your story aloud.  Now I bet your story is deeper and not slight! 

Congratulations on a successful revision!