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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65
votes
8answers
10k views

How to avoid turning dialogue into Q&A session?

I noticed a problem I have in my fictional writing. My dialogues quickly turn into interrogations. Here is an exaggerated example. "How did you do it?" he asked. "..." "Will ...
33
votes
8answers
4k views

Decide on a theme/overarching meaning before writing a short story?

I want my short story to have a specific point, to highlight a certain truth. But I wonder in which order I should proceed: make the plot, characters etc. first and worry about fitting my theme into ...
25
votes
11answers
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,...
25
votes
9answers
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 ...
24
votes
5answers
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 ...
21
votes
4answers
27k views

How does one go about publishing erotica, and how far is too far?

I write erotica, it started out as an amusement to see how far I could go, but it became a real passion after three or four stories. I have even published a few online and those stories have become ...
18
votes
9answers
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?
18
votes
8answers
6k views

How do I better handle my nameless main character when trying to retain mystery?

I have written a short story, and the main character is referred to as "he" right the way through - the idea being that this character is very guarded and mysterious. My plan was to not ...
17
votes
4answers
748 views

When to accept an editor's rewrite request?

So there's an editor who has accepted a story of mine for publication... but he wants me to change the ending. Normally I'm pretty open to editorial changes, but in this case the proposed changes ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What should tie a collection of short-stories together?

Short-stories are a nice format to write. If you have been an aspiring writer for at least one year, it's quite probabile that you've got at least three short stories drafted out, sitting in some ...
15
votes
8answers
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What should be in a cover letter for short story submission to a magazine?

It's been about five years since I last submitted any of my work for publication, and my memory of what I was taught then to put in my cover letter is getting rusty. What kind of information should ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

Dealing with inability to sustain interest in an idea

I frequently have the problem of starting a story with an idea—either one recently conceived or one held in mind for months, even years—only to find it bland or boring after a day or so and abandoning ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

Do Short Stories Need Definitive Endings?

I'm looking to create a few short stories that are in a shared universe of sorts and I'm curious whether or not I need to have a definitive ending to a story. I'm thinking that the "end" would be more ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I turn my short story into a novel?

I just wrote last week about Sleeping Beauty but a different version of it. (I changed the characters, and the conflict, and mostly everything except the fact that one of the main characters is cursed ...
13
votes
5answers
753 views

How to write from the middle?

My biggest problem as a writer is that I always get inspired and then start writing from the middle, in particular scenes or moments which I think will be crucial. Climaxes. These scenes turn out ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

What marketing techniques are effective for short story eBook collections?

I have a collection of short stories that I'm currently selling in the Amazon Kindle marketplace, and one of the biggest hurdles to actually getting my works read is lack of exposure. My passive plan ...
12
votes
10answers
4k views

What are some examples of modern original plots?

In a comment on this answer, a valuable community contributor suggested that it is possible to be totally original in writing, despite the fact that other valuable community members have stated that ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Writing short stories in an original world setting [closed]

I'm writing short stories in a Fantasy world setting I have created — medieval times, magic, dragons, etc. People who are familiar with such a world may not find a problem reading a short story set in ...
12
votes
3answers
411 views

What are some regular contests unpublished short story authors might enter?

One good way for new authors to become recognized is a contest. What contests exist that: Accept short stories Occur on a regular (annual, semi-annual, bi-annual, etc.) basis Are friendly to ...
11
votes
8answers
26k views

Is it permissible to write a short story with little or no dialogue?

We are writing a short story based on the antagonist in our novel, a sort of extended back story if you will. We are now three chapers in and still have not found the need to introduce any dialogue. ...
11
votes
2answers
651 views

Is there any hope of a fictional short story being published?

I mean under 100k, probably less than 50k because it's a short story. Actually, I'm not sure how many words a short story has so I have two questions. How short is a short story and is it worth the ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Should I care if my short story has the same title as someone else's book?

It appears to be a pretty obscure book. It's on Amazon, but there are no descriptions or reviews. From the cover, I'd say it was a kids book, which would put it in a different market. Let's assume ...
11
votes
2answers
104 views

Should I write in a style that is more conducive to a situation I am describing or write it the way I normally write?

I am writing a short story that describes a dream that I had as a child. I wrote a first rough draft and had my girlfriend read it to give me some feedback. One thing she criticized is my writing ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are 'Episodic' books so uncommon

The vast majority of fictional books are one continuous story, which are closer in style to what films are in a visual medium. I was thinking about why we don't see more books that would be closer in ...
10
votes
2answers
471 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

Does a story necessarily need a theme?

I'm writing a short story From what I understand, the theme is the message that I want to send across. Akin to Beauty and the Beast's "Don't judge a book by its cover" theme, or "Opposites attract." ...
9
votes
4answers
570 views

Does giving away free stories boost sales?

Is it worth it for writers to give away free short stories (or entire novels)? I've heard people say that having freebies on your site can boost sales of your books. I'm not talking about giving away ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

How to make a debate/discussion between characters less dry?

I've asked questions in the past about dialogue and I've read some questions about balancing dialogue with plot, however I have discovered yet another corner case in my writing. In my story Cured, the ...
9
votes
4answers
19k views

How many short stories make a collection

I would like to know, from someone who has marketed a collection of short stories (or is otherwise knowledgeable in these affairs), about how many short stories a publisher is looking for to ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Do people read short stories?

I enjoy writing as a 'side' interest and I have written 10 short stories (which are approximately 1,750 words each). I am publishing them as standalone ebooks (or 'estories' if there is such a term) ...
9
votes
2answers
295 views

Can I make money from short fiction?

Can one still make money from short fiction, and what is the best way? I know in days gone past it has been possible to sell short fiction to magazines or papers, who would pay per word, or some such, ...
9
votes
2answers
134 views

Where do I go looking for an editor?

I have several completed short stories, and I'm considering having them line-edited before I submit them. But I have no idea where to look for editors. How do I know who's any good? Where do I look, ...
8
votes
6answers
932 views

How to use short stories to explore a new setting and potential characters for a novel?

I'm an aspiring fantasy and sci-fi writer and I my goal is to write a novel that is to be the first in a series within the same setting. I'm getting to a point where I can feel "the world coming ...
8
votes
5answers
293 views

How do I know whether to revise or submit elsewhere?

I wrote a few short stories over the past few years, and I have shared a few of these with beta readers and asked for feedback. I have one that I decided was ready to go find a home, so I found a ...
8
votes
6answers
393 views

How can I dig conflict out of an optimistic SF-nal premise?

I frequently have ideas for what could be called "optimistic" science-fiction premises - imaginary technological or social changes which I think would create an unusual and interesting setting, and "...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

What are some good instruction manuals for writing short stories?

I'm looking to learn how to write good short stories, what are some good instruction manuals I should use to learn from?
8
votes
2answers
7k views

Changing narrators

Is it ever a good idea to change narrators in a short story? In one of my short stories, the narration starts in third person 'eye of god' mode. Then it moves to each character - there are only two ...
8
votes
3answers
282 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it impractical (not cost effective) to publish individual short stories on Amazon KDP?

This answer suggests that nothing published through Amazon (or other indie e-book route) should be priced at $0.99, and I'll give that Dean Wesley Smith has a lot of experience at this and is a ...
8
votes
3answers
855 views

What rights are OK to give up for publishing?

I'm thinking of submitting a short story to a small (and probably not well-known) serial anthology publication. For an author who's never been published in any way, shape, or form, should I be wary ...
8
votes
1answer
224 views

Getting short fiction published

I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what to use flash/micro fiction for. I've had several flash fiction works published, and the process was quite illuminating. I'm ready to start ...
8
votes
5answers
612 views

Websites for free feedback on stories?

Are there any websites or anything similar where we can get feedback from online readers (without paying for a membership or anything of the sort) for stories and other writings that are not quite ...
7
votes
8answers
471 views

Why do most literature magazines take so long (several weeks or months) to respond to submissions despite having only a few hundred subs per month?

I have heard that the the editor of F&SF (Finlay) is the only one who reads all the submissions. Yet he always responds within a week! (With detailed comments on each story.) Clarkesworld is ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

How to come up with original ideas for stories?

I seem to have several ideas for fanfiction novels. I'm working on a long fanfiction at the moment that's quite complex and I'm trying to practice editing. I would like to write some original short ...
7
votes
4answers
267 views

Writing a letter from the future

I'm writing a letter from the future to my dear friends, posing as the child they're about to have. The main aim of the letter is to be amusing, but also to give some perspective (you don't need to be ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

How to plan a short story for a given word count?

Many short story competitions, at least in Israel, set a theme and a word count: up to 2500 words, 2000-5000 words, etc. I often find myself starting short stories for such competitions, and hitting ...
7
votes
6answers
698 views

Can a scene be written to be disorienting and not be too confusing to readers?

I've written a scene in a short story where the character and her party are suddenly attacked in the night. It's written in first-person and the character had just been shaken awake from a nightmare; ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

The ethics of multiple contest submissions

So I'm gearing up to write an actual full-length novel and I've decided that the best way to test the mettle of my writing (and make a couple of bucks in the process) is to enter a few writing ...
7
votes
3answers
318 views

Likeable characters with deplorable professions?

I'm planning out an idea for a short story. In the story, slavery didn't abruptly end but instead continued to modern day and beyond. The structure of the story will be similar to The Last Question by ...

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