78

OK. This will be like all the other things we are learning. You fill your tool box with every tool you can find, and use all of them. In this case you are collecting tools to make your dialog sound natural. We are trying to reveal information to the reader, and you say you are using interrogation. Right, this is not natural. Part of natural dialog is ...


20

Short answer: You should write just as much as necessary, and nothing more. Short stories are supposed to be like that - short. Even if it's a fantasy setting, maybe a wildly elaborate one, you should not describe more than you need to bring the short story to an effective, satisfying end. Any information you give should serve at least one of those ...


18

I'm a big fan of ambiguous endings, when done well. The key is this: Your story doesn't have to tie up all loose ends, many, perhaps most short stories don't. But if you want people to be happy with your story, you do need to bring it to some kind of satisfying conclusion that doesn't rely on a larger context, something that makes readers feel they did ...


17

If you can make a good case, you could potentially group the short stories by whatever common thread you want, including author. You can also subgroup them. Some examples: Main point in common: author Secondary point in common: genre This is the most common, I feel. The best of Stephen King's short-stories will definitely be all in the same genre. But you ...


15

OK, I'm going to rephrase your question a little. Your problem is this: You have information to impart, which is (a) interesting and (b) important. However, the act of imparting that information is neither interesting nor important. I hope that sounds about right to you. And I think you'll find this way of phrasing the problem also hints and some potential ...


14

The advice is simple. Nail your butt to the couch and type. It won't always be fun, and your first draft will be very bad. If your expectation is to finish a beautiful story painlessly with a blissful experience throughout ... :-) You see from experience why this isn't what happens. Also, each part of a story is different. Writing the beginning is ...


13

You absolutely can write a story with no dialogue. You also can write a story using only dialogue. You can and may do anything you wish in a work of fiction. That's what fiction is about. You have free rein. It is your story. And, importantly, it is a work of art. Would anyone have told Leonardo that he couldn't give the Mona Lisa that mysterious smile? ...


13

Dialogue becomes natural when it involves the characters. Get into their minds, have them need to ask and then ask in a way that that character would. The reply could be almost anything as it could come from shock, misunderstanding, anger etc. Know who says each line and why, who replies, how and why and it will feel more natural. Conversations often take ...


12

This is called a "simultaneous submission," and a well-organized contest should have a clear-cut rule on whether or not they're allowed. If a particular contest doesn't call simultaneous submissions out specifically, the safest is to try and contact them and make sure what their rules are. At very least, be absolutely certain you can contact them and ...


12

Smart, clever, insightful, thoughtful, reserved, and mysterious are all abstract qualities. They are summaries. And the summaries lack all of the juicy details that lead people to attribute those qualities. Instead of describing such abstract characteristics, demonstrate them. Show the character doing clever things, or mysterious things. Let the reader ...


12

Theme is not necessarily a message. It is more the thing that you are exploring. If the theme is love, for instance, you don't have to take a position on love, you don't have to have a covert message, like "love hurts" or "love sucks". The theme is love simply because the story is about love, is an exploration of what love it like. The great privilege of a ...


12

Alas, no. As an unpublished writer, you absolutely should not submit anything less than a complete novel. A few quotes to this effect: You have to have a finished novel. There are no exceptions to this. The first step for writing a query letter is to finish the novel. -- Query Shark When you send your query, do not send an unfinished ...


11

Is it permissible to write ... Well, what do you think will happen? Is there a state law against it? Will you have to pay a fee if you do it? Be imprisoned? Get shot? Do you think the readers, publishers, agents will put you on a black list and never ever read a line written by you? How many lists have you made in the past, where you put the authors whose ...


11

The classic solution is to introduce conflict or tension. These naturally intrigue the reader and command his attention. Any conflict, no matter how minor or subtle, is enough to engage the reader's curiosity to find out what happens next. In this context, "conflict" and "tension" are pretty much any negative outcome to the conversation that your ...


11

While it's possible to expand a short story into a novel (c.f. Ender's Game), what seems more common in my experience (citation needed) is for the short story to become one part of a larger novel. Your short story is already a self-contained unit; what else is going on around those characters, in that setting, etc? Is there a bigger story that you can ...


10

Since your question has two parts, I'll address each separately. As far as how you can go about it, I would recommend that you self-publish as an e-book! You can use the web site below to get a free pdf version on how to get started. Someone made the following comment on a previous answer which has since been deleted: A self-published erotic novel will ...


10

The rules say that if you think of it as a novel, it counts as a novel. If you don't think of the whole 50,000 words as a novel, it doesn't strictly fit the rules. I've known lots of people who write 50,000 words of short stories and call it good. It may not strictly satisfy the rules, but so what? You wrote 50,000 words of short stories and had a lot of ...


10

If you start a new scene, the reader will know that something has changed. In a manuscript, you indicate a change of scene by putting a pound sign (#) or three asterisks (* * *) on a line by themselves (and optionally centered on the line). That's called a scene break. Readers know that a new scene generally indicates a change of time, place, viewpoint, or ...


10

Editors often reject stories for reasons that have nothing to do with the “quality” of the story (whatever that might mean). A few weeks ago I watched seven editors select stories for anthologies. Each editor was buying stories for their own anthology. There were about 250 stories submitted by 40 writers. Every editor talked about every story, and said ...


10

If you want the scene to initially be confusing, go ahead! Since it's written in first person, that's just realistic. However, keep it brief. It would probably be rather annoying to try to read through more than a paragraph of stuff that makes no sense, and readers might just want to skip it. Also, to make sure they don't continue to feel confused after ...


10

I think the heart of your difficulty is that you are equating light hearted with not serious ("fluff"). Your intuition that it is easier to write dark than light is correct, at least in the sense that going dark is an easy way to seem serious while covering up the fact that you don't actually have anything original to say. Most people, of course, don't ...


10

I'd recommend against an overview. Short stories are short, and figuring out what they are and what they're doing is often a lot of the story's bulk. You want them coming in like a real reader would -- not knowing almost anything except what magazine or anthology they're reading. General Genre/Subgenre. This is often a quick way for potential readers to ...


10

Sometimes with writing, what matters is getting the story down. If it is too long, or too slow, it is easier to find ways to cut it back when it already exists. If you worry too much about getting it right on the first try, not only will you fail to do much writing but you will still not have a perfect version of the little writing you did do. Instead, ...


9

It depends. For example, type "Time", or any other such common word, in Amazon. You will find there is more than one book with that exact title. Certainly, when searching for books, I have found many books with the exact same title. In such cases, I use the author or genre to narrow down my search. On the other hand, if the book is in the same genre, then ...


9

It is absolutely acceptable. If your story requires a shift in scenes, for example, it would be totally appropriate to indicate that with some form of break. Whether you identify this by using extra space, an image, or any other means is ultimately a matter of personal preference. The main point is that you are using a common device to let your reader know ...


9

I had the same problem as well. I've got key scenes scattered here and there (though mine tend to be near the end) that inspire me, and no idea how to get there. Sad to say, the only solution I've found is to write, throw it all away, and rewrite. Rinse and repeat many, many times. Even if it starts off as embarrassingly awkward, it's a base to work from. ...


9

I assume your students are interested in self-publishing. Traditional publishing is a whole different ball game. Key Factors To Consider Rights. One of the main draws of self-publishing is that you keep all your rights over your work. However, plenty of sub-par services exist which'll be happy to take 'em off your hands. Before posting work anywhere, and ...


9

You have to identify them somehow. Use adjectives. The tall man vs. the short man The older man vs. the younger man The long-haired man vs. the man with the thistle-down hair The carpenter vs. the electrician The French man vs. the German man It may get repetitive to say "her hands rested on the carpenter's shoulders, just they way they rested on the ...


9

Writing 'soppy prose' is an entirely separate issue from writing accurately about intoxication. If your examiners are primarily interested in your writing skills and language use you should focus on the soppiness rather than the accuracy. I don't know what marking schema they work to in your area but it would be incredibly harsh if they were to mark down ...


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