Reaching Resolution Revisited

To end our story we have to have some form of resolution. We’ve already discussed the different sorts of endings and how we can anything from complete closure to an ambiguous end or a cliff-hanger but we’ve still got to bring all these pesky plot threads together. If you struggle with this don’t worry, a […]

Getting From A to Oh Revisited

No plot would be complete without stumbling blocks. If stories didn’t have ‘oh’ moments they’d be a lot shorter and less satisfying. Readers like to see the characters struggle through challenges because it amplifies the achievement of winning, though it can be tempting to make things easier for them. These stumbling blocks are either built […]

Subbing Your Story Revisited

Most stories have at least one subplot that runs alongside the main plot. Some of these run the full length of the story, some are short little side routes. For example, in the Sherlock Holmes stories the main plot  is the case and the secondary plot is Holmes and Watson’s friendship and runs concurrent to […]

Where’s Your Tools? Revisited

So our main character has a problem, what are we going to do about it? Do they need some characters to help them? Do they need to get some tech or something to help them? Are they going to have to get somewhere to solve this problem? How? Each of these things that move a […]

What’s Your Problem? Revisited

At its most basic plot is the presentation of a problem that needs to be solved: the detective needs to catch the criminal, the lovers need to come together, the world needs to be saved. So when we’re beginning to plot a story we need to think, ‘What is the problem?’ then ‘How are we […]

Saying Everything and Nothing Revisited

One of the most useful tools in writing short stories, especially those under 2,000 words, is implication. This is a skill that can take a long time to develop because firstly we have to figure out what we can imply and what needs to be stated and secondly because we need to acknowledge that if […]

Characters, Characters Everywhere Revisited

Another important decision we have to make when writing short stories is the number of characters we include, this doesn’t only mean the number we have appear on the page but also the number of names mentioned. The simple reason for this is that if we try and cram a dozen characters into less than […]

On Exposition Revisited

The primary problem with the length of a short story is exposition. Every word of exposition we use is a word we can’t use on the present story, this might sound dramatic but we’re specifically looking at stories less than two thousand words and they’re quickly used up. Often the best way is to keep […]

Picking a Time Revisited

When we’re writing short fiction the time frame is important, not only from a narrative standpoint but also because we only have a limited number of words to cover the time. This means that if we were to have the story cover a long period of time we might need more telling because the word […]

How Short is Short? Revisited

For the purpose of these articles we’re going to be discussing short stories in terms of stories under 2,000 words. However, a short story can in fact be quite long, perhaps even as long as 15,000 words but as I’m going to discuss short fiction in terms of helping develop our editing skills the shorter […]