Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Short Story

It occurred to me as I was composing my first "serious" short story that perhaps I should see what I could find out about writing a good short story. How does it differ from a full length novel?
"Well, duh", you say, "It's shorter".
"Yes", I respond.

But are there differences, and is there some "secret ingredient" to being a successful short story writer?
Anyway, I googled "writing a short story" and found many useful sites. I even learned a new word--you serious, seasoned writers will laugh, but I had never heard of "denouement". I figured it meant something about resolution to the plot by the way it was used. And sure enough, it's a French word meaning a final revelation or occurrence clarifying the outcome of the plot.

No, I didn't find that there is a "secret ingredient", but I did learn that one should have a "narrow subject line" with a clearly understood point (theme) with not more than three characters. Also, one should make every word count while making "rich" believable characters.

And I loved what one site stated: Writers should "Put a man up a tree. Throw stones at him. Get him down."

Other advice I loved about writing in general. When writing a rough draft, don't continually censor. It's easy to mentally project "our mothers or other relatives looking over our shoulders."

So just write--ok?



Solard said...

The Charge to Go Forth and Write is always timely -- we can stand to hear it at LEAST once a week, Nana! Thanks for the reminder.

(oh, ps -- your short is very good... thanks for letting me preview it)


DJ said...

Nana, I enjoyed your post on short stories. I look forward to reading one of yours soon!