This is my personal list. It works for me. Maybe it will inspire you to create your own list.
Hello hello hello, my brother and sister short story writers. It’s the Old Soldier here trying to keep the constant content flowing. Today we will talk about writing the short story. Actually, we will talk about personal guidelines that help each writer to successfully write his or her short story.
When I first starting writing short stories many years ago, I was pragmatic in my approach to trying to write publishable short stories. As things turned out I ended up writing flash fiction. That’s when my stories started to be accepted by a local weekly newspaper that covered local politics and culture and by online flash fiction publications.
During those decades, yes I said decades, of struggle, frustration, despair and rejection notices in the mail, one of the things that kept me going was a list of things I had to accomplish in every short story that I wrote. The things on the list would change as I tried new things and learned more about writing the short story.
Now I don’t need to write the list down. It’s part of my writing DNA. But you may want to make a list of the things that work for you as a writer. I’m not kidding. Actually make a list. A list will do two things. It will help to keep you from starting from scratch with every story because you will have in front of you guidelines to follow. And the list keeps your mind focused on what you know does work. You won’t waste time trying to rethink what worked for you the last time. A list may work for you because: The body of every story is different, but the skeleton of all stories is exactly the same. Your list should be the skeleton. Having the skeleton in front of you will save you more trouble than you can image. Here’s my basic list.
- The title must hold the essence of what the story is about
- My protagonist is a good person but must have some flaw to struggle against or has some inner conflict
- I will tell the reader very little of what my characters are thinking or feeling
- I will try to convey what my characters are thinking or feeling through their actions and dialogue
- I will never tell my readers how my characters say something
- I will try to convey to my readers how my characters say something by the words they speak and the situation they are in
- My stories will be like dots and if I place the right dots in the right order the reader will be able to connect the dots and become part of the creative process
- When the reader is part of the creative process the reader is able to “live” in the story making the story more real in the reader’s mind
- Cut all unnecessary words
- Re-read the story several times checking for errors of grammar, punctuation, spelling, correct usage of words and clarity before submitting for publication
That’s the basic list that I use before writing every story and that now I carry around in my head. I don’t always live up to this list; but it keeps my headed in the right direction.
Do you have a list?
This is the Old Soldier writing in Pittsburgh.
Here are 15 Great Erotic Short Stories of mine. I hope you like them.