A great exercise in learning the elements of writing a good story is creating shorter fiction, such as a novella or a short story. My guest blogger today, Jo Huddleston, multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories, will share her expertise on how to write short fiction . Jo is also the author of a new novel, Wait For Me. Read about the free book giveaway below.
Writing Short Fiction with Jo Huddleston:
In this post I’ll touch on some essential elements of writing short fiction. There may be other approaches to writing short fiction but the principles I’ll write about here do work.
Generally speaking, the word length of a short story is usually 1,000-7,500 words. Short fiction will have the same basic elements as the novel: appealing characters, interesting situation, conflict, suspense, and a believable resolution. And above all, something important must happen, something that changes your protagonist’s life.
Let’s look at some of the requirements of any good fiction and how to adapt them to short fiction.
Only one conflict. In a novel one complication must lead to another and another. In a short story you can only have one conflict—you don’t have time for more.
Start as close to the end as possible. Collapse time for the sake of brevity; start as near as you can to the point of greatest conflict.
Make any flashbacks brief. Too long a flashback can slow down a story. And in a short story you don’t have the time to slow down.
Limit the number of characters. If you use more than two characters make sure each plays an important role. Readers assume a named character is important and should be remembered, so delete names. Mrs. Smith can become “the neighbor.”
Have believable characters. It’s hard to believe in a character who is too good. Give your characters at least one flaw—we all have them.
No long conversations or descriptions. Most real conversations are short and in incomplete sentences. When you do use description, draw from all five senses.
Write with emotion and suspense. To get emotion in your writing, write as if you’re talking to a friend. Keep you main character in hot water until the end to build suspense.
Avoid excessive verbiage. Use strong, action verbs. Avoid words like “very.” Example: Not, “The sidewalk was very hot.” Instead, “The sidewalk sizzled.”
Limit number of scenes. Scene is where your story takes place. Carol Gift Page writes: “Most short fiction has an average of three scenes.”
End your story as soon as the conflict is settled. The main character finally solves his problem. Don’t end with your main character solving his problem by chance, coincidence, or luck—that won’t be believable. Tie up all loose ends.
Remember: Short fiction requires the same quality as novels but different quantity.
Thanks, Jo, for the great tips on writing short fiction. As I said, if writing fiction is your interest, selling short fiction or even writing it is a excellent way to gain experience in creating a catchy story and a way to add to your writer’s resume.
What’s Wait for Me about?
Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and Robby, a coal miner’s escape the binds of their escape the binds of their son,socioeconomic backgrounds? Set in a coal mining community in West Virginia in the 1950s, can their love survive their cultural boundaries?
This is a tragically beautiful love story of a simple yet deep love between two soul mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother demand that Julie chooses to marry an ambitious young man from a prominent and suitable family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception and secrets in order to keep Robby in her life. Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept
Jo Huddleson’s debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren. Visit Jo at www.johuddleston.com.
You can find Jo at:
You can purchase eBook for Kindle and print copies of Wait for Me at: http://tiny.cc/xndfwx
I offer an eBook for Kindle copy of my book for a giveaway to one of the commenters to my post. Please draw the winner and give me the contact information so I can get the book to them.