Every short story has a beginning, middle, and end; but not every story captivates the readers. The secret to capturing the attention of the readers and editors alike is to add something special to your story. Here are four secrets that will help your stories stand out.
Understand what you want
Determine what you want your short story to do and explore your motivations. Learn to stick to your core message. Since short stories tend to be around 3,500 words, every sentence in your story must count. Make sure you are not over-stuffing your plot by having many distractions.
Things that work against the central desire of your character will keep the reader interested and prevent the story from getting stuck. Writers who approach their core idea from unusual directions always end up writing good stories. Characterization, setting, and dialogue are some of the areas that benefit from an unanticipated twist.
Short is sweet
Creative writers should resist the urge to write long stories. Short stories are readily marketable. Editors prefer short stories (less than 3500 words) over longer ones.
Have a good title
This is one of the most important parts of writing your story. Have friends or family members read your story and note which phrases or words strike them or stand out.
A novella is a well-structured and short narrative, often satiric and realistic in tone. It has a great influence on the development of the novel and the short story throughout Europe. Typically, Novella has about 7,500 to 40,000 words or 60 to 120 pages. It is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages in Italy. It was based on local events that were considered political, humorous, or amorous. Later, writers such as Matteo Bandello, Franco Sacchetti, and Giovanni Boccaccio developed the novella into an expressively subtle and very structured short tale.
Novella was introduced to England by Geoffrey Chaucer. Playwrights such as William Shakespeare borrowed dramatic plots from the Italian novella during the Elizabethan period. In Germany, novella flourished from 18th to 20th century.
Novella has fewer subplots and conflicts. The main narrative resembles a straight line and does not veer off into complex backstories, meandering plotlines, and multiple points of view. Usually, it is not divided into chapters.
Examples of work regarded as novellas, rather than short stories or novels, are Henry James’s “The Aspern Papers,” Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness,’ Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s ‘Zapiski iz podpolya’, and Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Smert Ivana Ilicha’.
Poetry is literary work written in lines and stanzas that use rhythm to express ideas and feelings. Poets pay particular attention to the placement, grouping, and length of stanzas and lines. This is known as form. Stanzas or lines can be rearranged to express certain feelings and ideas.
Sonnet is one of the many examples. This type of poem has 14 lines and a specific rhyme scheme. Most sonnet end with two lines that are set apart from the rest. Putting those two lines apart stresses their content.
Rhythm is another aspect of a poem structures. Also known as the beat of the poem, rhythm is measured in meters (sets of stressed and unstressed syllables). To create specific beats or sounds, poets arrange words according to meters. Think about the songs you know and think about the rhythm of the words and music. Is the singer sad or angry? The meters and notes might be short or fast, while later it might be slow and soft. These rhythms influence the overall message.
A poet might also use figurative language techniques to establish an overall effect. One such method is rhyme scheme, a technique that uses a pattern of recurring final sounds in the last words of each line. Also, rhyming lines can be used to emphasize the author’s message.
You hear many potentially damaging misconceptions about creative writing. Here are three common myths and how to deal with them. Don’t let them block your way to creativity.
Good writers are born with the talent
Some people believe that creative writers are born, not made. Authors may be mostly people who read and love books a lot. They start out more assuredly and confidently than other people who start writing, simply because they have already learned about creative writing from their reading. It’s possible; however, that everybody can become a creative writer. If you want to be a good writer, read a lot, write a lot, and develop the necessary techniques that writers use. Although the process may take years, you’ll end up a good writer if you persevere.
You have to know what you are doing
If authors only wrote about what they knew already, 50 percent of the books in the world would not be in existence. Books are written to explore questions and find the answers. Writers never really know precisely what they’re doing.
First drafts should be perfect
Most creative writers say that writing does not get any easier. They struggle to get down working every day, doubt themselves, fear the blank-page syndrome, and wonder how they will get the book finished. Therefore, a writer should learn to go wild with their first drafts.
The writer’s life is solitary, both by necessity and design. Well-intentioned as they are, your family and friends don’t understand the difference between crisis and conflict. They can’t relate the difficulty of creating a consistent voice.
If you are a writer and you always feel lonely, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are many writing communities all over the web. It is the time that you actively participate in some of them.
1. Absolute Writer
This is a popular writer’s forum on everything from science fiction to politics. It welcomes authors of all genres, including non-fiction, novels, greeting cards and screenwriting. This community is not only well moderated but also extremely popular.
2. AgentQuery Connect
If you are looking for feedback and critiques, join AgentQuery Connect community. This community has plenty of advice for people who have completed their manuscript. Writers also learn about how to market their work after publication here.
4. Critique Circle
Established in 2003, this is one of the oldest writing communities online. Most members are young adults. Members in this group take advantage of critique help.
4. Hatrack River Writers Workshop
This forum has old school feel and look. However, you will find plenty of energetic discussions and fresh ideas in this forum. If you want to be involved in discussions about developing plot and characters, join this community.
Other writing communities you might be interested in are BookRix, Figment, Mibba, and NaNoWriMo
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) was a Nigeria novelist, professor, critic and poet. His first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is considered the best and the most widely read book in modern African literature. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize. Today, we will discuss some applicable life lessons from Chinua Achebe.
Settle on one thing
Chinua Achebe was known for writing stories. When you mention Achebe, nothing will come into people’s mind expect novel writing. The lesson here is that successful people focus on one thing they are good at. They rarely scatter their energy on many things. Therefore, if you want to be a poet, devote all your energy to poetry.
Successful people start small
Settling on one thing does not guarantee success until you start small. Chinua Achebe started his career in writing by publishing short stories. People do not know him for the short stories he wrote, but they know him for the bestsellers he authored. Therefore, start with what you have today.
Settle for more
What about if Chinua Achebe settled for writing and publishing only short stories? Achebe had the spirit of pioneering and risk-taking. His success did not come overnight. In 1958, only 2000 copies of his best book were sold. However, by 1995, he had sold more than 8 million copies. The lesson here is that: in whatever people do, they should never settle for less.
Writing a great play is a subjective task rather than an objective one. There is no one formula on how to write a best. However, there are three things that one has to adhere to ensure his or her play is viable and appealing in the eyes of the targeted audience.
First, it is important to focus on the medium through which the play will be brought to life. In many cases, your medium is likely to be the theatre. With this in mind, write a play that can be performed in the theatre. To perfect this, visit a theatre close to where you reside. Study how plays are done, then picture how your play will fit in the theatre if it were to be performed at that moment.
Second, choose your characters well. Ensure that they are not more than six in number. This will ensure that your play is not a complicated. You will realize that some of the greatest plays do not have many characters. Using a few characters in a play helps to bring out the story clearly and makes the play interesting.
Last, choose a theme that focuses on human life. It could be love, betrayal, grief, amongst others. Build your story around the chosen theme or themes. However, as much as may want to use more than one theme to make your play interesting, remember that moderation is important. A play with many themes is boring.