In Brief

I’m not very good at writing concise pieces. Sure, my blog-posts may lack longitude, but that’s simply because I haven’t the power (yet!) to write non-fiction about myself.

However, life seems to be throwing the short-story card towards me lately (by ‘lately’ read ‘since September’), probably because my academic studies no longer give me time for longer novels. (As to how I’m scraping this blog through, it’s a mystery!)

So! Partly as a note to myself, I’ve decided to include some short-story writing tips.

1. Don’t describe characters in full. In a short story this is not necessary, as the reader will be focused on the momentum, not willing to ‘get to know’ the characters since they’ll be gone in a flash of pages. If in first person, there is unlikely very many reasons for to describe their appearance anyway.

In ‘A Rosary, a Music Book, and a Fume Cabinet’, I made the narrator, Genevra, not reveal too much about herself, simply stating at one point that she has ‘coal curls’. Genny’s descriptions of the other characters were brief in her state of heightened anxiety. The only reason she describes Miss Raynor is to highlight that Genny thinks she’s a ‘tart’ and was an unsuitable girlfriend for Genny’s crush.

2. Don’t create too many characters. You want characters that are  moral and part of the story-line, not those which are one-line extras and who don’t add to the atmosphere. The reader adds a ‘level’ every time they meet a new character; too many new characters can just add confusion without any other dynamics.

3. Have a clear theme and make every word count. There’s no point in ‘beating around the bush’ with short stories; they need to be directly into the action or event. Lingering sentences are not necessarilymore affective in prose, so if they sound like they’re over-doing the piece, cut them. The only reason they should be there is for extended dramatic style.

4. Don’t think too hard about the plot. Okay, this may sound strange, but this is one of the places where you can just let everything slot itself into place. I know many writers who don’t plan first, and let the characters themselves decide the way the story in going. In that way, I believe it becomes more authentic.

These are no rules, and I’ll admit that if they were , I’d break them all the time 😉 However, I hope this is some help, at least.

3 thoughts on “In Brief

Thoughts, comments, replies...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s