She eats pizza every day for lunch and loves Red Rose tea. As a writer, you need to determine who is going to tell the story and how much information is available for the narrator to reveal in the short story.
The narrator can be directly involved in the action subjectively, or the narrator might only report the action objectively.
So close your eyes and picture your characters within desert, jungle, or suburb–whichever setting shaped them.
Imagining this helps balance location and characterization.
But simply listing the emotions you experienced (“It was exciting” “I’ve never been so scared in all my life” “I miss her so much”) is not the same thing as generating emotions for your readers to experience. Read Raymond Carver, Earnest Hemingway, Alice Munro, and Tobias Wolff.
For those of you who are looking for more long-term writing strategies, here are some additional ideas. If you don’t have time to read all of these authors, stick to Chekhov.
Perhaps the sound and fury they make will signify something that has more than passing value–that will, in Chekhov’s words, “make [man] see what he is like.” –In order to develop a living, breathing, multi-faceted character, it is important to know way more about the character than you will ever use in the story. She is a fair-skinned Norwegian with blue eyes, long, curly red hair, and is 5 feet 6 inches tall.
Here is a partial list of character details to help you get started. Contrary to the stereotype about redheads, she is actually easygoing and rather shy.
An effective short story (or poem) does not simply record or express the author’s feelings; rather, it generates feelings in the reader.
(See “Show, Don’t (Just) Tell.”)Drawing on your own real-life experiences, such as winning the big game, bouncing back after an illness or injury, or dealing with the death of a loved one, are attractive choices for students who are looking for a “personal essay” topic.