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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/10552-Ten-Small-Steps.html
Short Stories: January 13, 2021 Issue [#10552]




 This week: Ten Small Steps
  Edited by: Annette
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Hello readers and writers of short stories, I am Annette and I will be your guest editor for this issue.

Word from our sponsor



Letter from the editor

Ten Small Steps


Write a short story in ten easy steps.


1. A short story is not a novel.
Like novel, a short story needs to tell a story that includes the basic and expected storytelling elements of inciting incident, rising action, climax, and falling action. Unlike a novel, a short story will skip fluffy parts of storytelling. The short story focuses on one event, one aspect/problem/relationship of the main character.

2. Frontload the action.
Pull the reader right into the story by starting as close as possible to the end. There is no need to describe mundane before events that have only a small relationship to the plot at hand.

3. Short stories go fast.
Now that you started close to the end, keep the pace at the high speed that readers expect during the parts of highest action and highest tension.

4. Short story equals small cast of characters.
Developing characters takes time and words. A hard hitting short story needs about three of them. The main character, an antagonist, and a relationship character who can drive the protagonist's or antagonist's character arc.

5. Make the reader root for one of the characters.
The obvious choice for the character to root for is the protagonist. The reader will root for a passionate character, or one who leaves his comfort zone.

6. Conflict.
In a short story, one point of conflict is enough. The conflict might be a decision that has to be made, a revelation, or a dilemma to figure out. It's important to keep the tension high around this point of conflict to keep the reader invested and engaged in the story.

7. Backstory?
Not really.
There is not going to be enough space to have an elaborate backstory in a short story since every sentence counts. However, you, the writer, have to know your character so well that his backstory can be glimpsed through the way he talks, acts, and behaves under tension.

8. The five senses.
Give the reader as much taste, smell, touch, sound as possible so that your reader experiences your world as if he were there.

9. Dialogue brings your story to life.
Tight dialogue can be a real good help for building drama, but read it out loud so that it doesn't feel stilted or unrealistic. Keep speech tags to a minimum and use "said" for the majority if you need a speech tag. Dialogue is more powerful when it's part of an action. Have your characters experience something as they speak to each other.

The easiest step (not)
10. Edit.
Editing is where the real heavy lifting comes in. Kill your darlings comes to mind. This does not have to mean that you have to kill a character that you're attached to. Although that's what it can mean. Another type of darling can be a specific description of something, an action that doesn't drive the plot forward, or irrelevant backstory details. The truth is: every word you put into that first draft is one of your darlings. Some of them have to die. It's a sacrifice you have to be willing to make.
*Bullet* Can one character do the work of two? Kill one.
*Bullet* Too much set up before a scene? Cut that out.
*Bullet* Repetitive words? Strike them.
*Bullet* Each sentence has to be meaningful to the story.



Editor's Picks

 
STATIC
Please Leave  (18+)
A family moves into a new home, and ignores the warnings of the ghost living there.
#2241099 by Mountain Drifter

 
SURVEY
Dear Me: Official WDC Contest  (E)
What are *your* goals for the new year? Think it over, write a letter and win big prizes!
#597313 by Writing.Com Support

 
STATIC
Vengeance.  (13+)
Do you know who's behind you on the road? Hope it's not a bloke like this driver.
#2241092 by Pennywise

 
STATIC
When Dreams Come True  (18+)
The watcher becomes the watched.
#2240826 by Beholden

 
STATIC
Crystal Futures  (ASR)
Contest Entry: world of quantum time crystal computing and interplanetary crystal portals
#2240811 by LightinMind

FORUM
WEIRD TALES CONTEST  (18+)
A Contest Inspired by the Old Pulp Fiction Covers of Weird Tales Magazine
#2083492 by Beacon-Light Forever

 
STATIC
Napoleon's Secret  (13+)
A missing snippet from the Battle of Waterloo
#2240671 by Lornda

STATIC
A Cow's Christmas Wish  (E)
Lulu loves Christmas!
#2240544 by Solace.Bring

 
FORUM
I Write In 2021  (13+)
Write and review once a week for all of 2021
#2240858 by Showering Dutchessbarbie.

 
STATIC
Santa Meets His Future Wife  (E)
Written for the Whatever Contest. Santa meets his future wife.
#2240518 by Princess Megan Rose

 
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Ask & Answer

I received this reply to my last Short Stories newsletter "That Short Story That Stays For Long

dragonwoman wrote: Thanks for featuring my flash "Friday One Three". It always tickles me when that happens.
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