How to write a great short story!
|Photo by Julien Tromeur|
Short stories need all the same elements as a novel in order to make it truly a story and not something else. (See my last post). But you're going to handle those elements quite differently in a short story than you would with a novel.
First of all, your story needs characters. In a short story you are (probably) going to have only one main character. Maybe two. But that's it. You're going to stick with just one viewpoint throughout the story (unless you are writing in the omniscient viewpoint). Your main character should be the person the story is about. The person most deeply effected by the main conflict of the story. You don't have room in a short story to introduce a lot of secondary characters. Of course, their will be secondary characters, but you won't spend much time developing them.
In a short story, your main character needs to be someone readers can relate to at once. They need to feel an almost immediate connection with the character in order to care about what's happening. That means you need to choose your characters actions, dialog, and descriptions very carefully in order to pack the most punch into the shortest space.
To achieve this (in my opinion), you need to get to know you're character inside and out. You need to know him or her so well that you can convey the character's personality to the reader in just a few sentences.
The short stories I love the best are the ones with the most memorable characters!
Next time we'll discuss the importance of the setting in a short story.