Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/7879
Short Stories: September 28, 2016 Issue [#7879]

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Short Stories

 This week: Inciting Incident
  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 short story writers and readers. I am Annette , and I will be your guest editor for this newsletter.

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor

Inciting Incident

How much word count can you waste with exposition in a short story?

Get right into it!

Short stories are, by definition, kind of short. If you want to engage your reader, don't waste too much time with lengthy explanations how everybody got the point they are in at the time that the story happens.

For example, if the main character is a divorcee, you can thread that little tidbit into a part of dialogue or narrate it during a scene description. "Since the divorce, Trevor really didn't enjoy playing golf anymore." There is no need to information dump that in the beginning when we don't even yet like Trevor.

Start your story with some action. Show the reader that it's worth their time to stick around through the first sentences and give your characters and plot a chance to capture them. "Trevor lined up the club with the golf ball. This was the one he couldn't miss or else he would lose the tournament." Now we at least have to stick around long enough to see if he makes the shot and if he wins the tournament.

If you story has more than two sentences of information dump in the first paragraph, you have to rewrite it. You reader is not (yet) in love with your characters and they will tune out and move on if they have to read through lengthy beginnings.

Editor's Picks

Captain Kid's Search for Buried Treasure  (E)
Two young boys act out their pirate search for buried treasure.
#2093357 by Sharon

"Gator in the Road or Losing my Head"  (E)
In the lowcountry in South Carolina, alligators flourish.
#1882820 by Lesley Scott

Down on the Farm  (13+)
The future always holds more promise than the past
#1956042 by Eric Wharton

Saving Jasmine  (E)
Lacy & Sara have a plan to save a farm friend, but it might get them in trouble.
#1812711 by Jeannie

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#2097321 by Not Available.

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#2097305 by Not Available.

Dancing Shoes ~ or The Best Laugh  (ASR)
Story with a twist -Leger's 48 Hour Challenge ~ 're-twist' Twisted Tales ~ Super-natural
#1556502 by Kate - Writing & Reading

The Bush House  (E)
Two girls and a teddybear have a sleepover
#2097179 by WakeUpAndLive️~🚬🚭2024

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#2097333 by Not Available.

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Word from Writing.Com

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Ask & Answer

For my last Short Story newsletter "You Had To Be There, I got the following replies:

JasperAK wrote: And that writer's ignorance right there is one of the reasons why I haven't reviewed too many items. Years ago I printed out a whole mess of stories and with red pen in hand, started marking them up. Some of them were so bad, I couldn't even offer solutions. I never would have imagined that someone would say to a reviewer that, 'they just had to be there.' I always imagined something more like, 'who the heck are you to say my story doesn't work.'

That's why writing is really not that easy. It takes some work. Some don't want to do the work.

vada wrote: Great points. I never thought of it this way, but agree--totally. Thanks, Vada

Thank you for agreeing.

Lemniscate wrote: "It's the writer's job to write in a way that those who weren't there get a glimpse of the events through the eyes and words of the writer. " is correct


dragonwoman wrote: Thanks for including my story in this newsletter.

You are very welcome.

Steev the Friction Wizurd wrote: Good points! You don't "have to be there" because a good writer will take you there.


Quick-Quill wrote: This is an great NL. Your example is perfect. I have been there myself on both sides. What I learned by putting the reader in the story has been good advice. Keep writing these!

Thank you for the praise. Yes, that is why this site is so great as we get to tell each other how to make our stories more visual and understandable to each other.

chopstixd wrote: I strive to be a minimalist. I believe only important details should eat up word count. If a room's wall color doesn't matter, leave it out. Let readers fill in details when those details won't alter the story or they add very little to character. In most reviews, I ask authors to remove needless description, but in my last review I actually penned:
Imagine a story about someone you don't know, doing something, for some reason. That's it: “Someone did something and I don't why.” A boring story.
That came from my e-mail part of the review, so I know you didn’t read it, but your newsletter article echoes the same sentiment.
It's not that throwing in details helps stories; it's more like "something" cannot substitute for necessary details. Writers need to trust readers with critical information lest read start to mistrust authors and set aside the author's work.

I think that things like wall colors, car makes, even hair and eye colors can be totally omitted and be left to the reader's imagination. What can't be filled in by a reader is what the people in the story do and why. That would be the critical information you mention.

willwilcox wrote: I really loved this newsletter, but YOU HAD TO BE THERE

I was there. I wrote it. *Laugh*

*Bullet* *Bullet* *Bullet* Don't Be Shy! Write Into This Newsletter! *Bullet* *Bullet* *Bullet*

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