Questions tagged [short-story]

Use this tag for questions about short stories. Do not use this tag for questions about novellas, flash fiction, or other types of short fiction.

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3 votes
1 answer
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How to write a character going insane

so I'm writing a short story for homework. The story is about a writer who has to write a narrative for a book fair she'll be attending as an honorary guest. But she can't come up with any ideas. In a ...
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14 votes
4 answers
6k views

My character surprised me with their behaviour while writing them, should I keep that behaviour or stick to how I had planned them?

I was doing some exploratory writing without much planning/thinking and one of the characters acted in a way I wasn't expecting! In the narrative the character (normally kind/warm) is under stress, ...
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3 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I change scene without changing chapter?

I'm writing a short story/novelette (unfinished but at about 7k words) and I have 5 chapters already. I intend to add more content during a second or third pass. I've been using chapters to change ...
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2 votes
2 answers
80 views

I'm writing short stories in first-person view. How to include dialogue where there main character is not present?

I've started to write a book of short stories about a quirky nerdy guy and his growth into an adult man (see here for a description). I got a recommendation to use first-person narration. While about ...
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0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Can you help me understand what a "lyrical short story" is?

What are the minimum requirements for a lyrical short story to be a story? If it is plotless what separates the lyrical short story from random chatter?
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3 votes
1 answer
551 views

What is the minimum requirement for a song to be considered a story?

I can't figure out if my songs are stories since they don't contain a climax, multiple characters, or a resolution. For example is this song a story? It lacks conflict and climax and resolution but it ...
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16 votes
2 answers
4k views

How can I avoid overusing "I" and "I'm" in a first person short story?

The story I'm writing uses 'I' and 'I'm' way too much, and it's really obvious. The problem is that I cannot find words to replace the two, and when I do, it always changes and bends what I'm trying ...
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  • 163
0 votes
2 answers
174 views

Which factors do we need to count to evaluate the standards of short story?

I like writing suspense-based short stories similar to this one on Wattpad, but I don’t know how to assess if my writing is good or meets the expectations of the suspense genre, or if my stories ...
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0 votes
2 answers
110 views

Writing scenes where everything goes absurdly wrong?

I'm writing a short story where a mysterious rich man has just died and his friends are gathering to find out his will. The dead man was quite eccentric and wanted to send them all on a wild goose ...
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  • 111
0 votes
3 answers
74 views

Need help with the correct wording: Platoon? Squad? Or something else? [closed]

I wrote a short story about a 6 men on a rescue mission to save a family during WWII. I originally called them a "platoon" and wrote about the main characters "platoon mates"; ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
55 views

Writing a screenplay versus a short story

I've been writing short stories throughout my life, in a humorous style. Yet, these stories lack a literary quality, and the prose is rather plain. I'm debating whether to start writing screenplays ...
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  • 173
0 votes
2 answers
83 views

Is it acceptable for a published short story to serve later as the prologue of a novel?

If I was to publish an original short story to get feedback for a concept and characters, would publishers find it distasteful if I then wanted to include the same text later as the prologue part of a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
145 views

Moving story forward via conversation in first person

Background I wrote a few paragraphs of a story, again as an assignment a little while ago, but now I plan on completing it. But there is a problem while I am writing. Unlike other short stories that ...
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  • 255
0 votes
2 answers
110 views

Stuck with writer's block; how can my young protagonist overcome depression due to sudden loss of sight? [closed]

I'm writing a short story in which my protagonist is a little boy. An unexpected event happens and makes his life upside down which is blindness. This latter causes him depression and now I don't know ...
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0 votes
4 answers
115 views

Asking about chapter's length

Is it okay if a short story's chapter's length is 450 words? If so, could you also have a chapter with 1000 or more words in the same story?
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0 votes
3 answers
84 views

How can I expand my story to meet a minimum word count? [closed]

I'm writing a sinister story for school and it has to be 500-1000 words. But I only have 414 words and I don't know what else to add. This is how it looks so far. How can I expand this to meet the 500-...
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0 votes
2 answers
74 views

How to switch between characters in a first person story?

I know you can switch between the 3rd and 1st and vice versa but how from one character to another both using the 1st person. I know chapter breaks would help but I only want to make a small story (1....
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1 vote
4 answers
126 views

Not sure how to continue my story [closed]

I'm writing a story (I think a bit long to post here, but I could if someone would like), which is a metaphor for depression. In the story (from a 3rd person past-tense POV, if that's helpful), an ...
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  • 161
1 vote
4 answers
131 views

Improving my story opening? [closed]

I'm writing a story about a woman driving cross-country in search of her childhood home. There, she discovers the small town has grown to a suburban sprawl, and she's surprised to find that she can no ...
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  • 161
0 votes
1 answer
98 views

How can I make the premise of e.g. a short story more real?

As far as my motivation in writing goes, I have long been frustrated about historical fiction I’ve read where the main character is basically an American dressed up in a cloak and armor. The Caryatid: ...
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1 vote
1 answer
62 views

Describing unrelated events in first person viewpoints

How can I describe a scene in a short story with the first-person point of view, when the main character isn't taking part in the action, or even viewing the event?
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3 votes
3 answers
145 views

How can concurrent/dual dialogue be implemented in short story/fiction writing?

I am currently writing a short story that has two intertwined narratives told in inverse chronological order from each other. The two narratives meet/converge at the moment the protagonists receive ...
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3 votes
1 answer
94 views

How to develop ideas?

I participated in a weekly challenge prompt app and many asked me to continue writing and to make it a book but I can't find a good idea to develop that short story.
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0 votes
2 answers
67 views

Publishing of Collection of Short Stories

I have a collection of short stories--48 in total, a word count of 80,000 and 156 pages. Regarding publication, is such a collection likely to be too large? If I were to split it into two collections, ...
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3 votes
3 answers
257 views

When writing science fiction or horror, how to prevent the villain from becoming less scary as they are fleshed out?

I'm trying to write a horror short story about a shape-shifter, but I have trouble keeping it from sounding like a science fiction story. The story starts out with a creepy tone, with a person close ...
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2 votes
7 answers
143 views

Misspelling and punctuation how to improve?

Love telling/writing stories except I am the absolute worst at both spelling along with punctuation. Normally I care less about these things because I can still read them although many people get ...
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1 vote
2 answers
42 views

Formatting a story collection for submission to publishers

Anyone know of a definitive online resource on formatting a story collection for submission to publishers and agents? One knotty question in particular: does one use the title of the book throughout ...
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0 votes
2 answers
48 views

Does this sentence make sense grammatically? Is there anything I can do to improve it? [closed]

"The meticulously placed masses of skin under her eyes were captured involuntarily by the customary light fixtures of the hospital ward, sufficiently polluted with the indistinct clamour of her ...
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3 votes
5 answers
675 views

How can I begin writing a short story?

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 ...
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  • 39
1 vote
1 answer
490 views

Literary magazines that publish surreal/absurdist fiction?

Does anybody know of any literary magazines that publish surreal/absurdist fiction? I have a short story I'm looking to submit. The closest comparisons I can think of are A Clockwork Orange, Brave New ...
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2 votes
3 answers
67 views

Where can I find a beta reader for grammatical issues?

I’m looking forward to finding a beta reader to help getting me past my grammatical inaccuracies during my attempts at writing short stories. I’m not a native English speaker, so I found myself ...
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0 votes
3 answers
92 views

Why would a someone desecrate a pharaoh's tomb? [closed]

I'm trying to find a believable reason for someone to open a clearly cursed tomb for my short story. I'm finding myself between the silly-but-different and believable-but-boring spectrum. For example, ...
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  • 13
2 votes
1 answer
106 views

problematic writing [duplicate]

I'm currently attempting to write a story. And In the past I have tried but found myself unhappy with the result because I find that I use "I" in every sentence. For example: The wooden floor was ...
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  • 43
0 votes
5 answers
669 views

Does Dean Wesley Smith's recommended method of writing into the dark, editing and sending actually produce quality writing that editors accept?

To elaborate, this is a quote from a question regarding this that I have found: "(Dean Wesley Smith) basically advises writers to just fly by the seat of their pants (without even having the ...
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  • 2,164
-2 votes
2 answers
150 views

How can I shorten a piece of writing effectively? [closed]

I always face the problem of word limit. How can I shorten a piece of writing without causing its original essence to mar? How can I be effective in doing that? Are there any general rules? For ...
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  • 91
4 votes
2 answers
178 views

Character and world building in less than 2000 words

Is it possible to build a new character and/or world in a science fiction under a tight word limit? What aspects should be covered and what avoided? Also are there some similar previous examples to ...
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2 votes
4 answers
248 views

Are competitions worth it in order to get published?

I have recently finished my 25,000 word novella and contacted some publishers and agents about a month ago. I have only heard back from a couple rejecting me but considering the format of my book as ...
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18 votes
10 answers
10k views

Is it possible to write a short story in 500 words?

There is a short story contest where the limit is five hundred (500) words and I want to know if that is a possible limit for a short story?
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  • 367
4 votes
1 answer
343 views

What genre would a fictional eyewitness account of a real historical event fall under?

I've written a short story about a true historical incident which involves a very famous person in history. The incident is true as are the people involved in it. But the story is a fictional ...
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  • 1,196
1 vote
1 answer
204 views

How to annotate short stories

Recently I’ve been getting assignments to annotate 1 or 2 short stories in English every day. Are there any good techniques to use when annotating short stories?
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  • 123
0 votes
2 answers
225 views

What are the top most important key elements for a computer game story?

I am a programmer and in the middle of developing a TBS (turn based strategy) computer video game. Those kind of games have a flow of what is commonly known to gamer as 4X, that is, explore, expand, ...
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25 votes
5 answers
7k views

How can I hint that my character isn't real?

How can I make a side character's tangibility open to interpretations so the audience is unsure if she's even real? My short story is about identity. My main character is being pressured by a friend ...
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  • 351
1 vote
4 answers
406 views

Introducing evil characters before the evil deeds take place

Is it possible to introduce evil characters (be identified as evil) before the action (the crimes committed by the characters) takes place?
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2 votes
2 answers
197 views

Is having elaborate metaphors ever a bad thing?

Is having elaborate metaphors a bad thing in a short story (for the purposes of the story being accepted by a magazine)? How can I know if my metaphors are too elaborate?
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4 votes
4 answers
245 views

How could the disregard for both plot and dialogue tell the story?

I want people to understand what I write, but I do not want to use conventions such as plot or dialogue to tell a story. Without a plot I have been criticized of not having written a story, but ...
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  • 668
25 votes
9 answers
4k views

A torrent of foreign terms

I am writing a short story, about a particular field with multiple specific terms, none of which are in English. (Specifically, I'm writing about bullfighting, but the question could apply to other ...
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15 votes
8 answers
3k views

Sci-fi change: Too much or Not enough

I am in the process of editing a short story. It is science fiction of the "if this goes on" kind: I take a social trend I see, and paint its event horizon - a troubling future. 1984 and Fahrenheit ...
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27 votes
11 answers
8k views

How do I stop my characters falling in love?

So I'm writing a short story based in a WW2 American military base camp stationed in Germany. It's about A Jewish Soviet soldier that, with the help of an American soldier and a series of coincidences,...
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  • 295
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can I modify and turn my published short stories into a novel?

I'm writing some short stories that are all connected and are set in the same universe, because I planned to put them together into a novel later. My question is: If I publish those short stories, can ...
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10 votes
2 answers
540 views

How do I make a very short story powerful?

I'm currently working on a project where I write events for a story driven video game. The limitation is that I have to get through a discovery, the consequence and the character's response to that in ...
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