Sunday, June 18, 2006

On Writing Short Stories

To my mind the writing of a short story is one of the most difficult things a writer has to face, if short stories are part of his genre repertoire. Whether you want to tell a legend, a tale, get a point across, or just allow your reader a glimpse into your characters lives and/or mind, when you are limited to a specific amount of words, you must choose each word with exceptional care.

Many people, those uninitiated into the world of writing, think that due to the fact a short story by nature is "short" (e.g. not a full blown novel), it should be easier to think of, create, write and edit. The reality, at least for me is exactly the opposite. The short story is the most difficult to genre to write and more importantly to write well for.


I have always loved the art of putting together a short story. To be sure as the author you must decide, how much "tell" and how much character participation will take place. The cardinal rule that is drilled into the writer's head of "show don't tell" - meaning don't tell the reader in narrative what will or is happening, have your characters do it - often does not apply in specific short stories. (Indeed I think that rule is bull anyway, as it has nothing to do with "show" or "tell" but how good the author is in his craft.)


Since most of my short stories would fall under the "literary" genre it becomes more difficult at times to make sure that within a specific amount of words I can get the point or tale I am telling through to the reader.


Some short stories of mine, recently published appear at thedeepening a bona-fide ISSN number and recognized short story site on the net. I will probably devote a whole post to the folks and ideas going on at thedeepening but for now suffice it to say that four or my stories are up there, and the fifth will be published in July.


What I have learned from this venture with thedeepening is that a well-written short story, may not find its market today or tomorrow, and may find it only 25 years in the future, but IT WILL FIND ITS MARKET!


The deepening has the following stories:



  1. The Sunflower

  2. A Pot Of Gold

  3. Tenuous Webs

  4. The Heretic

  5. Reverieing (to be published in July)


For those of you not willing to pay to read literature from some top authors in their field, each month a story is picked that can be read for free by anyone. The Sunflower is one of those stories, so you can mosey over thedeepening and read that one along with some fine stories from other authors as well. You can read my bio, leave a notation about how you like or disliked the stories, and see just how professional writing is shaping up these days as well.


The art of writing a short story, takes patience a willingness to edit, sometimes even wiping out your favorite lines. My advice to all writers that ask me is this.


On your first writing, write with your heart. Leave your head on vacation. Once you have the raw material down on paper, write or edit with your head and leave your heart at home. Let your head be without any compassion or empathy to what your heart wrote. Let it X and cut out. The final draft combine those two, use your head and your heart. In the end you will have a polished story, which leaves the reader with the raw emotion, but packaged in a well-written prose or story.


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Categories: short stories, writing


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1 comment:

Razib Ahmed said...

I agree with you that writing a short story is really very difficult. Well, I
try sometimes but I am just an amateur. I have written a

short story
in my blog. If you read it and let me know you view, I will be
very happy.