Submitted Date 03/27/2019

Good morning all. I have decided to broaden my writing horizons and in such have entered a short story writing contest. I understand the rules and have the guidelines and topics I must follow. Then I realized I know nothing about writing a short story. My experience thus far has been novels and poetry. So, I decided what better way to get some useful advice than to ask my fellow creatives here. I know we all have our own writing styles and experiences. For this reason, I am hoping you guys will give me a hand in figuring out what the heck I have gotten myself into.

So, if you have any ideas or experiences in short stories or just have advice of any kind, please share it with me and the rest of our creatives here. My hope is that this information will not only help me but also others who struggle with writing styles they do not understand or are not experienced in. So, will you help me?

Leave your comments below and let's help each other through this writers life.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and a marvelous week. I look forward to hearing from you all.

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  • Marie Gibson 4 years, 8 months ago

    I haven't really written much in the short story arena, but I know two things. 1: Just as you would in a novel, make sure to write out an outline for your story. 2: You have less amount of time to set the scene/mood in a short story. Be sure to do this in the beginning paragraphs. As short stories can run anywhere from 500 - 17,000 words, it is up to you to figure out how much detail needs to go into the plot. Of course, if you are on the larger end of that word count, you have more playing ability.

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 8 months ago

      Ellen, thank you. This is great advice. The word count will be between 1000 and 2500 words, so I am thinking a brief introduction of the settings will be best. Thank you for your suggestions and time.

  • Tomas Chough 4 years, 8 months ago

    Not sure about my experience with short stories, but I think keeping things clear and simple is the best way to go. Whenever I get into too many details I just can't stop and am all over the place. That's what makes things long for me. If I know exactly what I want to communicate beforehand, it's easier to make it short. Not sure if that's advice, but it's whatever experience I have. Good luck on this new journey Mary!

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 8 months ago

      Thomas, thank you. This is great advice. I know from my first book that it is easy to get carried away with details and trying to write what you envision in your head. So I will definitely have to keep it short and brief. The first book was over 50000 words so I will need to eliminate a lot of explanation for this one. It should be a great exercise in simple conveyance though. I hope I am up to the challenge.

  • Nina Appasamy 4 years, 8 months ago

    My biggest piece of advice is to always carry a journal of some sort. Inspiration can strike at any moment, and you don't want to forget the ideas you come up with, even the ones that seem silly at the time. As far as the writing, I think you should stick to what works for you. Writing is a very individualized task. Some people benefit from outlines, while others (like myself) do not. Finally, make sure your story has a full and clear arc with at least some falling action after the climax. A lot of first drafts end a bit too quickly after the climax or have a story that doesn't have a truly clear one. Due to the brevity of a short story, it is best if there is a clear climax and some form of resolution. (By that, I mean the character(s) need to have some time to respond to whatever the climax is.) Also, the climax doesn't need to be dramatic; it just needs to be clear.

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 8 months ago

      Nina, thank you so much for the great advice. I will definitely keep all of this in mind while I am writing. I agree with you about the journal. I have been without paper many times and forgot my great ideas before I made it home. I made sure when I upgraded my phone that it had a memo feature.

  • Jacqueline Hemingway 1 year, 3 months ago

    Hi Mary, just curious, how did the short story contest go? As a lifelong writer I have a good deal of experience in a number of writing methods, much too much to share within a comment. My best advice to anyone desiring to be a true writer comes down to two simple words: be succinct. Regardless of any other bits of advice, economize your words, resist the over-description of a scene. Don’t use a ten dollar word when a twenty five cent word will do. Every sentence should propel your story forward, nothing should be there for filler, for word counts or page numbers. Your goal isn’t to impress the reader with big words, rather it is to create a narrative that keeps your audience turning pages to the end of your story. Enjoy your writing journey!

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 1 year, 3 months ago

      Thank you, Jackie. This is wonderful information. I wrote the short story and have rewritten it several times. I just wasn't happy with how it turned out. Now studying for my MFA, I am revisiting this story and learning all of the little things that need to be changed, and it is more pleasing for me as the author to read, so fingers crossed, this translates into more enjoyable for the reader. Again, thank you for your advice, it is greatly appreciated.