This should be the greatest moment of tension in your story ; everything is critical, with emotion and interest peaked. This is make-or-break, the moment when things matter the most. After that comes falling action, when things start to wind down. All that tension is actively being resolved. Your reader has a deep need for that resolution in this section, so make sure that when you fix the problems, you address the issues youve been carefully setting. Finally, we have resolution. Dont let the word fool you: this ending isnt necessarily happy or sad.
Plot and Narrative: The
I just put plot second in finished this list because when I write, reading my plot follows my characters, rather than the other way around. If you do it differently, theres nothing to fear: youre still right! (I could say write, but you might click the back button.). Plot is like blueprints. Your plot, its connections, and its structure determine the way you shape your story. It includes the order in which your characters face things. Its the organized structure, the thing that will end up in an outline on wikipedia (with spoiler alerts, of course). Generally, plot as a concept is split into five parts: Exposition or introduction, which establishes characters and setting. Rising action, which reveals the conflict. Now that your characters are established (along with some sense of what their normal looks like you throw in the wrench and raise the stakes. Now comes the climax, also known as the turning point.
They change, and their growth is a key aspect of your story s momentum. If your characters are flat, your readers will have trouble empathizing. But if your characters feel pdf real and relatable, then your readers will eat your story. Understanding what your characters do and say (and how other characters respond to them) helps to paint the fullest possible picture of your fictional creation. The second Element of Fiction: Plot. One small aside: plenty of folks would start this list with plot, not character. . Your characters live inside your plot, but your plot revolves around your characters.
Youll need to know their backstory. This doesnt mean your reader needs to know it, but your understanding of your characters history is crucial for resume how and why your character responds to things. Youll need at least a rudimentary grasp of psychology. You and I have both read books which annoyed us because the characters just didnt feel real. Often, this is because basic psychology was ignored, and the characters behaved in a way that made no sense for human beings. Youll need to understand the power of the character arc. Your character should not be the same at the end of the story as in the beginning. .
However, there are some tools every writer needs to make their story professional and effective. Grammar and spelling are the obvious ones, but today, im talking about the elements of fiction: character, plot, setting, point of view, theme, and style. The first Element of Fiction: Character. In many ways, characters are the foundation for the entire work. Thats going to involve the emotional and mental condition of your characters. Have you chosen a point of view? Thats you following specific characters as you tell the story. . Your characters are the people through whom your reader experiences the tale, and the trick is to make those fictional characters feel completely real.
The five basic, elements
A compelling story will do the heavy lifting for you. Mastering the art of the short story can help you hone the critical skills for writing of any kind. Because this condensed form forces you to get merciless with your storytelling, and forces weaknesses to expose themselves. These five elements are ones I have seen writers and struggle with over and over again among the submissions to my short story site. Look out for them in your work, and you are well on for your way to compelling, cohesive craft.
Does your story have the keys elements of cohesion? Practice revisit a short story you have written (or write a new one!). Are the key elements of cohesive stories present? What did you do well in this story? Where are more revisions needed? Share your thoughts in the comments! Much of writing is instinctual, born of exposure to good stories and a lot of practice.
Dont get Artsy, you can stuff your flowery prose and philosophical dialogue and ambivalent phrasing where the sun dont shine. Dont give me Artsy—Artsy does not beget art. Just give me a good story. When it comes to Artsiness, i have a personal rule: If I find myself deeply in love with my words, thats a good sign I need to come back to that section and make some cuts later. Build to the climax efficiently.
In short stories —emphasis on short —your plot needs to build efficiently. Every paragraph, every sentence, every word should take the reader closer to the climax. If a piece doesnt serve this purpose, cut. Short stories just do not have space for meandering. Have a clear conclusion, for some reason, a lot of writers seem to have a lot of love for the ambiguous story ending. See guideline 3—dont get Artsy. It may feel lofty to get all Inception on your story s conclusion, but specificity trumps a confused reader every time. I see this most often among less experienced writers who dont yet trust their stories to do the heavy lifting—but relax.
Lesson Plans on, writing
In a short story (especially flash fiction) dont waste time setting up short your vertebrae scene or sharing your heros musings. Pull your reader to the heart of the story s conflict right away. Share only whats critical to the moment. This issue is most stereotypically associated with fantasy, but ive seen it across the board. Theres no need to give your reader buckets of backstory. Tell us what we need, right when we need. Everything else should be cut.
skills. Ray bradbury recommended writing one short story a week—it seemed to work out pretty well for him. Photo by identity chris is (creative commons). Adapted by The Write Practice. Ive noticed that regardless of genre, from romance to horror to sci-fi, the main reasons for why i have to turn stories down are often then same—theres a few recurring elements writers across the board seem to struggle with that hold them back from. What makes Short Stories Successful? Here are five important elements many writers in my short story submissions overlook:. Get right into the heart of the conflict.
Henry, stephen Crane, jack london, mark Twain and Edgar Allen poe. What makes these authors such remarkable short story writers? They are true masters at combining the five key elements that go into every great short story: character, setting, conflict, plot and theme. The ellsa web-site uses one of these five key elements as the focus of each of the five on-line lessons in the Classics of American Literature section. In each lesson, you will resume explore a single American short story from the usia ladder Series and discover how the author uses a certain element. The definitions on the right are repeated on the first page of each short story lesson. Map of ellsa: American Literary Classics top of page contents: American Literary Classics, march 22, 2004.
Introduction to Short, story, writing
A short story is a short work of fiction. Fiction, as you know, is prose writing about imagined events and paper characters. Prose writing differs from poetry in that it does not depend on verses, meters or rhymes for its organization and presentation. Novels are another example of fictional prose and are much longer than short stories. Some short stories, however, can be quite long. If a a short story is a long one, say fifty to one hundred pages, we call it a novella. American literature contains some of the world's best examples of the short story. Readers around the world enjoy the finely crafted stories of American writers such.