88

Imagine her point of view, as a typical nurse. She has already met hundreds of patients over the course of her career who had inappropriate feelings for her. 99% of them held no temptation for her at all, and by now she's sick of it. Some were old, some were unattractive, some were mean when they thought they were being nice, some made sexual suggestions at ...


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 ...


64

I did this once in a novel-length story. After the first two appearences my wife said that she has a strange feeling with the side character, but couldn't tell why. In the end she was like 'I knew it!'. What did I do? I made the side character appear 'just in time', when noone else was around or 'hide' from others for whatever reason. She did always know ...


55

Easily. There are entire categories of "flash fiction" that are even shorter, even down to just six words (famous example allegedly by Hemingway: "For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."). Common breakpoints are Twitter sized (280 characters), 50 words, 100 words, 300 words, 500 words, 750 words, and 1000 words. These categories go by many names, and they aren't ...


35

A story like this is about what the MC experiences, and should be told in the MC's voice, but it's also important to consider your readers' experiences as they read, right? This seems like a case where you need to balance the reader's expected knowledge of the subject matter with the MC's. If I told someone a story about what I did at work (and didn't want ...


35

In "150+ Short Two-Sentence Horror Stories To Freak You Out," Michael Koh compiled a list of two-sentence horror stories. He started of by saying that "horror stories don’t need to be long in order to be scary. A good horror concept can always be boiled down to its chilling core." Here are a few examples: I can’t move, breathe, speak or hear and it’s so ...


30

The nurse is a nurturing character? Perhaps this reminds him of his mother or sister. This is a person with whom he can be physically and emotionally vulnerable, without any sexual connotations. Another layer to consider is that, with his life in constant peril, romance is really the very last thing on his mind. He needs friends and allies more than love.


29

Something about the character's physical appearance doesn't seem quite right. If I recall correctly, the hallucinations in A Beautiful Mind never aged - that's how the MC was eventually able to tell that they weren't real people. You could do something similar, to show that the character is out of touch with reality. You could have your MC and her ...


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 ...


19

I would subtly manipulate the dialog so that your main can have scenes where the imaginary character and a real character are both talking and it seems like they are having the same conversation, but not really. For example, the imaginary character asks a question, with the next snip of the real character's dialog responding with what seems like a correct ...


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 ...


16

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? ...


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

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 ...


13

Imagine the Nurse is a lesbian. In WW2 and in the military she wouldn't be "out", but it isn't like lesbians did not exist back then. Her fiancé is a ruse; I know single lesbians that still wear a wedding ring, an easy way to shut down male inquiries. I will also note, not all lesbians are butch, there are many degrees of femininity in lesbians; gay terms ...


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

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 ...


11

There also a very popular writing competition run by the BBC every year for young writers called "500 words". Some of the stories that have come out of that are very impressive, especially since the competition is only open to kids aged 5 to 13!


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 ...


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