Last January I agreed to participate on a short story blog. I along with several novel writers are writing a story a month around certain themes. The blog is Lightning Quick Reads. It’s been great fun, but also a challenge. As novel writers, we often find telling our stories in 1500 words or less difficult.
Tips to novel writers who write short stories:
Do not overwrite. Short story writers use very few and deliberate words to make their point. Like poets, every word counts. In a novel, we can sometimes get away with flowery descriptions or long internal monologues or back and forth conversations. Not so with writing a short story.
Create stories with a very strong protagonist. Novels can go from one point of view to another, usually at chapter breaks or section breaks. No so with a short story.
Develop minimalist scene descriptions. Setting the scene is as important in a short story as in a novel, but there is no time for describing scenes over and over as the character travels within the story.
The reader need not know every detail.
Simplify the plot. If the plot is too complicated in a short story, the reader gets lost.
What are some tips you might include to help novelists write short stories?
Kai Strand says
Writing short stories vs novels is (to me) like weight lifting for the brain. If you want to build big muscle, you write novels. If you want lean muscle, you write short stories. But if you want the most efficient and best developed muscle, you do both. 🙂
Great post, Joan. Thanks for being involved in the blog. It is a lot of work and I hope you feel it has paid off.
Joan Curtis says
I love the way you describe the two processes of writing–big vs. lean muscles. Very appropriate. Thanks for the opportunity!