3 Tips for Better Short Fiction

 

Presented as a part of the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop.

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3 Tips for Short Story Writing

January has been a busy month for short story contests. Mash Stories offers an on-going flash fiction contest. Writer’s Digest offered a short, short fiction contest earlier this month, and Simon and Shuster held a fan fiction contest, Baen has a near-future science fiction contest, and the Chicago Tribune has a short fiction contest open until January 31, 2016.

This week, I’m participating in the 10th Annual Short Story Challenge offered by NYC Midnight. It’s tremendous practice.

Here are three tips I use for writing better short fiction.

  • Pick one main event. Streamline the story so that everything points to that one event – even after the climax, the story finish still points to that one event. The plot can be as simple as cooking dinner or as complex as sky diving from a space elevator. Don’t stuff in extra details. Often, the beauty of a short story is rich characters, full of depth, but a plot that exists within a small space and lower word counts. Short stories, even though a different experience than writing novels, are great practice in streamlining.
  • Limit characters. Pick one or two. Don’t name anyone else. If the main character is on a crowded bus, blur the extras by providing little-to-no information about them. Include only the details that are necessary to move the plot forward for the main character. Character naming is similar to adopting a stray dog. Once it has a name, it wants to stick around in the readers’ mind.
  • Limit Point of View. In short fiction (whether flash fiction – 1,000 words or less – or a novelette – up to 17,500 words), there is a limited amount of time to hook the reader. Begin close to the inciting incident, but keep it simple. Story creators often want to keep all the viewpoints, include the antagonist’s reasons, or mention the main character’s last love interest. Don’t obscure the great words with superfluous ones. Increase tension and interest by limiting readers’ knowledge to only what the main character knows. Pick one character that is central to every situation, jump in that head, and stay there.

 

Just remember: first drafts don’t count. Get the story down. Get the words out. Don’t worry about rules or tips or editing. After that first draft, go back and edit it into shape. And whatever happens, keep writing. Your uniqueness enhances our own. 🙂

 

What are some tips you have for writing better shorts?

I’d love to hear from you: me@bokerah.com .

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


Presented as a part of the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop.

Be sure to see the other awesome bloggers.


IMG_3935Bokerah Brumley is an award-winning writer from West Texas. She is the Publicity Officer for the Cisco Writers Club while simultaneously addicted to Twitter pitch contests, writing contests, and social media, in general. She has too much planned for this year, but is doing it anyway. She lives with five home-educated children, three dogs, two cats, and one awesome husband.

 

 


Dogwood Sprocket by Bokerah Brumley

A SciFi Steampunk Romance Novelette Available for FREE in

Seasons: A Multi-Genre Story Collection

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Seasons Vol 1 - Final


Coming Soon

Out April 2016, twelve novellas from twelve authors: Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection. My contribution, Woe for a Faerie, is the story of Woe, a fallen angel that struggles to find her purpose after losing her wings. A buff Fae fellow saves her from freezing to death in Central Park and promptly decides she’s his. Meanwhile, Woe meets Jason, a priest that isn’t quite what he seems. I like to think of it as City of Angels meets League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The follow up to Woe for a Faerie is Wings Over New York – out in July 2016 with The Beasts of Summer Collection. In it, our heroine, Woe, is tasked with locating a nocturnal albino peacock shifter that is haunting Central Park and sucking psychic energy from the unsuspecting.

And in November 2016, I’ll write a baddie for a change and add Feather to my fantasy world. Readers will get the awesome-sauce introduction to the epic author-party that is The Hotel Paranormal.

 

Published by

{Bokerah}

Blue-haired wife, mom, writer and photographer: I write in trees with peacock quills, so said she, really meaning a desk and chair like writers everywhere.

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