Guide Rich! (Short Story)

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2. Play with plot devices in shorter fiction

In a short story, you need to give those characters distinctive voices within a fraction of the space. Depending on the nature of your story, there might be little dialogue.


Read tips on whittling down your dialogue to essentials here. It began with the same themes. It will result in a more tightly structured novel. If a story is just a few thousand words long, you have time to pore over every word.


Try writing a few short stories and giving extra attention to the construction of every sentence. In omniscient point of view, a narrator who has access to the thoughts and actions of all characters is telling the story. When you write a short story, try changing the point of view throughout the entire story as an exercise. Change it from first to third, or vice versa.

How does it change the effect? Writing short lets you experiment and be free with your style. Then write that epic novel. Telling a complete story in 5, words rather than , nurtures your storytelling abilities because you: 1. It typically has: Exposition introducing characters, their world, a scenario Development developing these elements Rising and falling action Themes Structure The last point makes writing short stories particularly useful for bettering your craft.

Play with plot devices in shorter fiction Plotting a substantial story like a novel is challenging.

Simon Rich | The New Yorker

Practice concise character development Often first-time or even experienced novelists are tempted to develop characters using long flashbacks and back story. Learn how to write lean dialogue In a novel, you have the opportunity to develop the voices of different characters over a much broader canvas. Related Posts: How to develop a story: 10 steps to a winning plot Scene writing tips: 5 ways to avoid filler Updating our online writing tools: 8 lessons and changes.

Post navigation Previous Character arc template: 5 steps to strong character arcs. Next How do you describe a place? Pin It on Pinterest. We even have a plagiarism case, hardly exotic to the genre. A final confession: The pitfalls of writing a boarding school novel are really the same pitfalls of writing any novel at all. That sentence is not a joke. The point is that writers are always working in the shadow of literary precedent. Love stories, war stories.

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Post-apocalyptic road trip stories. There is nothing, for instance, about the way Christine Schutt strings together sentences or approaches story that even vaguely resembles the way J. Salinger does the same, just as there is nothing about the way Tobias Wolff conceives characters or establishes tone that resembles Muriel Spark.

But that can only take the writer so far. I have my doubts. By writing toward precedent, however, by engaging directly with other works in the genre, by acknowledging precedent and actively challenging it, by deliberately seeking different windows and fresh stylistic angles into these old stories, it becomes possible to simultaneously subvert tradition and channel its power.

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Chuck Klosterman’s New Short-Story Collection Is the Sound of One Man Arguing with Himself

A confession: I did not go to boarding school. Another confession: I did not set out to write a boarding school novel.

Article continues after advertisement. He teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville with his family. Alfred Prufrock" October 4, by Brenna Ehrlich.