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A short story conserves characters and scenes, typically by focusing on just one conflict, and drives towards a sudden, unexpected revelation.
Suppose you have a protagonist whose husband comes home one day and says he doesn’t love her any more and he is leaving.
What are actions that can result from this situation?
The first time I heard him, I stood in the bathroom listening at our shared wall for ten minutes, debating the wisdom of calling the police.
It was very different from living in the duplex over middle-aged Mr. Brown and their two young sons in Duluth.“It is important to understand the basic elements of fiction writing before you consider how to put everything together.
General Creative Writing Tips [ Poetry | Fiction ]Writing short stories means beginning as close to the climax as possible — everything else is a distraction.
A novel can take a more meandering path, but should still start with a scene that sets the tone for the whole book.
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.
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.