I write novels. Sure, I’m waiting for my big publishing deal, but I love the long fiction structure: the opportunity to develop characters at length; to weave sub-plots; to plumb the depths; struggle to the surface; heap mounds of stuff on my protagonist; the false climax; to be a master of the universe.

But short stories? Hm.

I love reading them. I cannot but admire the mastery, the cleverness, the concentrated pleasure within a few thousand words. So what have I observed when reading them?

  • A short is often a glance, an incident which illuminates a whole world;
  • they mostly have one main character;
  • clarity and tightness underlie the whole piece;
  • a single point of view;
  • introduction of the conflict/crime/question early in the story;
  • spare and succinctly provided information; and
  • a good twist (or two) at the end.

I’ve been advised to keep the concept simple, to bash out a first draft around the one idea, then substitute one word for five.
I’m working on one at the moment. After a false start, I think I’m settled on the POV. This may sound laughable to the experts, but hey, I’m trying.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

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