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I like to read short stories, novels, documentaries etc. I used to write a diary as well. I am interested in beginning to write a short story or some other form of creative writing. But I struggle to think about how I can start this. After reading other writers I am amazed at how they look at their surroundings, the way their imagination approaches things. But I narrate my surroundings in my writing as I describe them during conversation to others. There's no creativity, I also find no interest to read my writing anymore. Can't I do something now for developing this, making my writings into a creative short story?

  • Welcome to Writing.SE! If I understand correctly, the problem you're having is that your descriptions are too boring and uninteresting? Is that what you're looking for help with? – F1Krazy Apr 24 at 7:16
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    I think this question needs more focus. It can basically be summed up to "how do I write well?". The question&answer format of Stack Exchange doesn't work well for such broad and open questions. Can you try to identify a specific problem you have with describing something? – Philipp Apr 24 at 12:52
  • @Philipp, I understand your point, but I only somewhat agree. Though we may have to search a little for 'the issue' in the question, the answers so far focus on it being "what lies behind the issue of not simply writing ___ well"... – storbror Apr 24 at 13:59
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    I agree that the question needs more focus. Is the problem you're struggling with finding the interesting story, or is it telling the story in an interesting way? – Eric Lippert Apr 24 at 17:08
  • Also, look at the various tags on Writing.SE - fiction, creative writing, etc. Many people have already given advice on different elements of writing, in answers to other questions – ArtickokeAndAnchovyPizzaMonica May 22 at 8:17
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I suspect that your descriptive skills are not necessarily the issue, but that you simply do not know WHAT is relevant to describe and WHY, and then HOW.

A suggestion that COULD help, but which might take some effort in order to work;

Introduce/use a somewhat 'odd' character - It could also be your narrator.

Focus on creating a character that does something or things slightly differently from 'everyone else'.

  • Maybe they always think about how objects/things are put together, or where the parts of something come from and are manufactured/collected/processed. Maybe they see millions and millions of things around them (grass, sand, tiles, bricks, cables, screws, wooden beams and their natural details, the pages of the books on the table, the threads of the cloth and their own jeans...) where everyone else is simple 'present somewhere'.

  • Maybe they see similarities between or compare all things to living creatures or other things - Coffe cups are tiny silos, tables are tiny versions of enormous spaceships in the living room(with their landing gear down, of course), speakers are military buildings with a strange weapon/defense system built into them, house-plants are forests and trees, houses and buildings are living creatures and their windows are eyes/other 'bodyparts, and so on...

  • Perhaps they do not naturally understand all human behavior and feel the need to question it - This can be through thoughts only or with actual dialogue between characters.

  • Perhaps their mind wanders, and they find themselves slightly startled in some random place after having spent time in their thoughts - Maybe they're on their way to do some grocery shopping and the sound of a car on the street reminds them of something that happened in their childhood. From there, their mind spends some time recalling the events and the emotions connected to it, which leads to other times/memories with similar or opposite emotions, and suddenly, they're standing in their local park (because something inside them made them walk there 'naturally') instead of the local supermarket where they meant to go.

An example of how these things could apply to the narrator;

When I say that these traits could be those of the narrator (and thus, not those of a character in the story), I immediately imagined a short story where we might actually lose track of the main characters sometimes because the narrator gets 'caught up in the details of somethings' or stops following the main character by accident because they 'start questioning something that happened'... Imagine that. It's probably been done, but what hasn't!

Hopefully, you find some inspiration, and maybe these ideas help you on your way to writing the details and descriptions that actually capture your reader and which you yourself find interesting.

Good luck!

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I suspect that you are trying to take in too much all at once. Narrow your field of perception. Pick one thing that you see as you move through this world and write about it. Pick something that you care about. Prune away anything that is not directly related to that one thing.

Let's say that you pick something that was a gift, say one you received. Describe the circumstances around the gift. Who gave it to you? When did they give it to you? What was the occasion? How did it make you feel? Why was this gift more significant than other gifts? In what way did this gift change things in your life? These questions should have answers in your own experience. All you have to do is to remember and write them down.

Or you see that someone has left something behind. Nothing of great value but of some value nonetheless. A pair of cheap sunglasses. A soiled handkerchief. A tattered spiral-bound notebook. Who owned the item? Did they leave it behind by accident? On purpose? Was it a conscious choice or an expression of some internal emotional turmoil? How will their life change because they no longer have the item? You can make up anything that you want.

Do one of these a day, or a few per week. They do not have to be long. A page or two at most. Just make sure that they are focused on a single item. When you get to the point where you can make the story of a discarded paperclip interesting, then you can start writing stories about the intersection of two items, and extend the web of relationships out one more step.

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Try to describe less, and imply more. For example, Anton Chekhov once advised his brother thusly:

"In descriptions of Nature one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when the reader closes his eyes he gets a picture. For instance, you'll have a moonlit night if you write that on the mill dam a piece of glass from a broken bottle glittered like a bright little star, and that the black shadow of a dog or a wolf rolled past like a ball"

Start by describing the scene as you currently do - however that might be. Then, add extra detail and descriptions: Instead of just saying "the house was old and decrepit", start to describe the mildewed windows, the overgrown garden, the peeling paint and the pockmarked stone that can be glimpsed through the many grasping tendrils of climbing ivy.

Then, start deleting stuff. Keep copies (you may need to put some lines back in later!) but work out which pieces can be removed without destroying the overall "shape" of the scene. The aim is a framework, with key points carefully highlighted, such that the reader's imagination fills out the gaps — leaving them with the illusion that you provided far more description than you actually did.

Imply Things

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A short story could start from your very own personal experience. Take one memorable experience from your life, make it as a story with fictional names. It is not necessary for short story to be narrated from a 3rd person perspective.

Narrate your story to the readers the way you talk to your friends. You'll definitely have the "could have been better" scenarios in such experience. Add them to your story and make it delicious.

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Practice. Write short stories on whatever you can find, whether it be prompts, objects, fast fiction, or whatever else. Write them in a notebook, and keep the notebook with you. WHen writing the stories, focus on what you're writing.

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