Friday, May 17, 2013

Writing a Short, Short, Short, Short Story

Writing North Idaho is sponsoring another contest with a new element. Not only are prizes awarded, but also entrants will receive written critiques of their stories from our professional judges.

Write a short story based on this picture. It can be a comedy, a tragedy or a moment in time.
The contest theme is "A Picture is Worth 500 Words."

Tips for Writing a Short Story

1. Plot should be simple. Create conflict and resolve it. As per any story, write a beginning, middle and ending. Write an interesting story that engages the readers and gives them a satisfactory ending.

2. Limit the number of characters.

3. Choose a point of view.

4. Choose the setting (inside the house, outside, from across the street, from a photo album, or...).

5. Write the first draft without worrying too much about the word count. In the rewrite, look for sentences that are too wordy. Analyze whether you have too many characters. Does the story starts too early leaving little room for the "meat?" Do you need to eliminate some topic? Is there too much development or dialogue?

6. Write a catchy first paragraph or a sentence with a good "hook" to get the reader interested immediately.

7. Vary the length of the sentences.

8. Try using one or some of the five senses: taste, sight, touch, hearing and smell. 

9. Choose strong words; write using few adjectives and fewer adverbs.

10. Keep in mind that you are to provide a direct, brief story from which the reader gleans something---a laugh, a tear, a memory, a "wonder what I would have done" ending, or some other emotion.

Look at the upper right section of this blog for "WNI Contests" and click on it for contest details. The contest ends June 21, 2013 at midnight. Good luck!

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