1. The Cleansing
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    The Cleansing New Member

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    This might be a stupid question..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Cleansing, Mar 31, 2009.

    here we go..

    how you do write a short story?

    It's quite the shocker; sad but true.

    I've read a couple here and there, but I still don't quite get it.

    Where should I even begin?

    NOTE: I've notice that my post was moved, so I apologize if it was posted somewhere else.
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Cleansing,

    There is not 'right' way to write a short story, but if you're totally lost as to how to write one, you should probably begin by reading published short stories. Don't read them for enjoyment (although it shouldn't be a painful exercise), but study their structure, how the author put the story together and presented (told) it to the reader. Watch for pacing, characterization, plot, conflict, dialogue, etc. How each element propelled the story forward, toward the climax and resolution.

    Go to the library and get an anthology, works by E.A. Poe and O'Henry are online, there are tons of ezines online and free to read (although some are better than others). It all depends on what you want to write (types of stories/genres).

    If you want some specific recommendations/links, I can post them for you here.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  3. Piestein
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    Piestein Senior Member

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    Short story - not a long story, not by far. That's the only thing that the story needs to be. Everything else is up to you.

    Start from the beginning, from the end, from the middle. Go back in time, go ahead of it, switch characters, whatever.

    Begin where you feel you should. Just keep it short (ofc, not 5 lines short, check out the length of other stories in this site).

    Terry's advice is of value as well.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do what terry said!
     
  5. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    Depends on how short you want this short story to be. Is there a set-word count? If not, then it should probably play out a little like a novel, but shorter. ;)
     
  6. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I will generally:

    1) pick a topic (stumped for a topic? Look HERE)

    2) Decide how I want to do it (sad, happy, tragic, etc)

    3) Make a list of characters. I give names, races, socio-economic data, ages... anything I can think of. Note if they are real, half, or non characters. (Real characters tell the story, halfs interact with the MCs but never really get fully developed, non-characters are people you pass over and use as filler; they are not developed at all.)

    4) I outline how I want the story to look. In this step I pick a story (what happens) and a plot (why should the reader care, WHY does the story matter).

    5) I fill in details. Try to use the above as a guide, but understand that it will change and your final product will not look like the planned thing.

    This was the writing strategy I started to develop for the last writing contest, and used (in this incarnation) for the current one.
     
  7. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    Short stories are all that I write, but unfortunately it just comes naturally so I'm not used to thinking about it. My stories always just end up between one and four pages.

    If your problem is that it's too short, just forcefully add a bit more content. Make more elaborate descriptions (be careful you don't overdo it though) or add to the plot.

    If you're writing too much, simplify. My short stories usually just start as a description of something, not an elaborate plot. Maybe you could try that route.

    Good luck, Nate
     
  8. Chaoslogic
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    Chaoslogic Member

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    The standard is roughly 3 - 12 pages long at 12 point font. When writing, do what feels best; I write in 10 point font.

    A short story needs plot, setting, and characters. Unlike novels, you'll need to focus your writing down to a few characters. Short stories I've studied involve one protagonist only.

    Since you are unsure of where to begin, I suggest participating in the short story contest that is going on in this forum. The subject is: what would you change if you could do something again.

    Next, do some free writing. I call this term drafting out my story; and if you are like me, you do it over and over again until you come up with something that works. Think about the subject - this idea that is your entire story - and write whatever comes to mind. Do it again. And again. And again until you know what you're doing.

    As you do this, you'll encounter writer's block. When this happens, talk to a few people, be it your online buddies or people through here. Fresh perspectives provide unusual insights and work out the illogical kinks that don't make sense. Essentially, you're getting feedback from your audience.

    I hope this helps.
     
  9. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Very good advice from both of you. :) I was going to make some similar suggestions, but you guys beat me to it.
     
  10. The Cleansing
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    The Cleansing New Member

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    Terry and LordKyleOfEarth,

    Those are some good suggestions that seem most fitting for me. Thank you.
     
  11. Yitz
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    Yitz Member

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    I was in the same boat as you...


    till I read How to Write Short Stories, 3rd ed by Arco.

    It really helped a lot, and the nice thing about it is that it gives examples with
    several short stories and examples of good habits and bad.
    So often a book seems to TELL you what to do, this one SHOWS you.
    Had my wife not pried it from my fingers, I would be racking up a serious
    library fine in no time.
    I very much was inspired by this book and it's a very enjoyable read.
     
  12. markfreelance
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    markfreelance Banned

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    Hi,

    In my opinion a short story should begin with a brief introduction to lead you into the beginning of the story, of course make sure you have done a small storm cloud to capture everything you want it to contain, then try to be as detailed and brief as you can to make the reading intriguing and thrilling, yet SHORT. Short stories are a great way to start out and to get to grips with book writing, setting out to write a 500 page novel is not always the best option :)

    Best of luck, I´m sure you will succeed.
     
  13. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    Short Story = a short story. So write a short story.

    Some people might say it's a one act deal, or even one scene, but you can make it any way you want. If you want to separate it into chapters you can.

    If you start thinking that a Story Story and a short story are two different things, then you're going to be lost in the genre-form prison.
     
  14. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    This is what an entire short story should look like. Note that I am writing this ON THE SPOT:

    One day, such and such was doing such and such and something occurred which launched him into a situation of which he may have gotten out of, but not with certainty. The end of the story then took place, and it was over.


    That's pretty much the format of a short story. Your question is so vague that I can only assume that you need the most NOVICE concept of the idea.
    Using this format, you can then build upon it and diversify it based upon everyone's advice. Good luck.
     
  15. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't mind Atari - he's just being pretentious. :p
     
  16. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    lol Marina...

    You can't tell someone how to write, you can try to show, but they have to see themselves. Most of the time when we write, we watch the words coming out, so read and critique at the same time, worry about what we are saying, if it is proper, if it flows, makes sense and all that.

    the idea at first is to get an idea out, just the idea, screw the story, it will come. you fill it in after, build the characters, deepen them, select an mc. don't put boundaries on your story before you've completed it. when you select an mc, well then you have one road to follow.

    so first get your idea down, write it out in point form if you have too, used to have to do that in school, do an outline and go from there.

    I wish you well in writing, asking questions is a great step, listening to the commenters above is the next. well done
     
  17. The Cleansing
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    The Cleansing New Member

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    It's a good thing you only assumed, but thanks for the clarity, Atari.

    I know. I'm used to people like that, marina.

    thank you, Castlesofsand.
     
  18. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    AAAAAAAGGH!! Don't lump me in the category of people like that! I was being sincere and earnest without any malice or sarcasm!

    I even said that, combined with other people's advice, it should help you and then wished you luck.

    I apologize if MY interpretation of your question wasn't perfect, but you cannot presume automatically that I am 'that' type of person based on a well-meaning post.
    You, after all, were the vague one. You didn't give any details, so I gave you the most BASIC concept I could write.


    Meany pants! :mad:
     

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