?

Do you think a short story start as close as possabe to the end of the story?

  1. Yes

    27.3%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. depends on the story

    72.7%
  1. DeadMoon
    Offline

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    756
    Likes Received:
    441
    Location:
    fargo, ND

    Short Stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DeadMoon, Jun 16, 2015.

    In my travels thru the many websites that provide how to's, tips, guidelines ect... about writing I have noticed a common suggestion that conflicts with many short stories that I have read. So I would like to get other writes POV a particular short story suggestion that is as follows.

    Start as close as possible to the end of the story.

    I have read this many times and can see why or at least I think I can see why but many short stories I have read do not follow this suggestion at all and are still great stories.

    I realize that it is just a suggestion and not a rule but I would like to know what other have to say about it.
     
  2. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,636
    Likes Received:
    1,732
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Short stories are short. If you don't start as close to the end as possible, there's a good chance you'll end up doing a lot of time jumps. Three weeks later, three months later, three years later, etc. Huge time jumps like that aren't appealing to me at all as a reader. But I don't read many short stories.

    I did write one last year about a girl who killed her mother. I didn't start with the fight or the murder or even after the murder. I started with her digging a grave, thinking about the events that led up to that moment. It wasn't revealed until the end that she had killed her mother.

    Again, I'm no expert on short stories. But the length of them only allows for so much information. Starting too soon could drag them out unnecessarily and bore a reader.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  3. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    957
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Hmmm yeah depends.

    Obviously in flash fiction you do want to start as close to the end as possible. Shortness is kinda the point. But I don't think that's true of every short story - shortness isn't so much the point as just the result, if that makes sense.

    But, yknow, you don't have time to waffle on and take your ponderous time setting everything up in a short story, either. If you do that you're going to end up writing a novelette or something, right? Think about what's necessary, really integral to your plot. If you don't need it, cut it, and do a lot of soul-searching on what's really truly needed.

    One of the shorts I'm currently trying to home does involve a lot of time skips, because it actually takes place over the course of several years as this kid is growing up. But I still started as close tot he end as possible: when a new person enters her life and begins to change things. In another one I had an intro of sorts that I really liked, but after I while I decided to severely abridge it, cut it from about 400w or something like that to a couple paragraphs - and I don't doubt the piece is better for it. You can't waste people's time with shorts like that.

    I think 'start as close as possible to the end' is, like 'write what you know', not bad advice but sometimes difficult advice to interpret.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    This was Vonnegut's advice, which, when you think about it, is actually quite vague. So I'm going to say it depends on the story.
     
    TWErvin2 likes this.
  5. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I don't see how one can answer that.
     
  6. DeadMoon
    Offline

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    756
    Likes Received:
    441
    Location:
    fargo, ND
    Just looking for opinions
     
  7. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    In a short story, everything is close to the end of the story. In the short story contest (Did folks vote yet? See link in sig! :p) once in a while a story will have a beginning that seems disjointed to the rest of the story. Everything in a short story needs to move the story forward, it can't be an introduction that is akin to a prologue.
     
    Rhys likes this.
  8. VirtuallyRealistic
    Offline

    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2015
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Wisconsin, USA
    Most short stories I write start towards the end of the story. If there is anything relevant that happened previously, I mention it in a short flashback or dream sequence. However, I still voted for, "depends on the story," as there are likely many cases where it's more practical to start earlier in the story.
     

Share This Page