This is fiction week, so I hope you’re trying your hand at some stories. When I came back to writing fiction after spending years avoiding it, I had huge fun making up people and thinking about their problems.
I had some questions about yesterday’s post, Make Money Writing Short Fiction. Readers wanted to know which genres to try, other than erotica.
* Romance — any kind, whether sweet, Young Adult (this is becoming a hot genre in fiction), second chance, etc;
* Science fiction/ fantasy;
* Paranormal — vampire and werewolf stories are HUGE…
Basically, write what you enjoy reading. Fiction is a matter of personal taste, as well as mood. Sometimes I’m in the mood to read Reginald Hill, other times, anything with a horse and a cowboy floats my boat.
As with all forms of writing, make it easy on yourself. If you love to read historical fiction, as I do, you can certainly try your hand at short stories set in the historical era of your choice. (FWIW, I love anything to do with the Medieval era.)
What’s a short story?
I define a short story as a brief, focused fictional piece that contains at minimum the following key elements: plot, setting, characterization and some sort of resolution.
I’d add to that a theme — to be fully satisfying for the reader, a short story has a meaning, some sort of lesson. However, a theme is unlikely to appear until you’ve written the first draft of a story. With some short stories I’ve written, I didn’t see the theme until many years after I wrote the story.
Therefore, when you’re writing your short stories, don’t concern yourself about the theme until you’ve written the first draft. If you still can’t find a theme, don’t worry about it. Get someone else to read it, you may be too close to it.
According to our definition, for a short story we need:
* A plot
* A setting
* A resolution
I like to start with the setting. For me, the characters and the plot always arise out of a setting.
So let’s say I wanted to write an historical short story, based in the Medieval era.
I just close my eyes, and muse. Medieval: knights, horses, tournaments, tents, trampled grass, mud… A squire comes along, leading a horse. Tears are leaking down his face…
There we go. That was quick. We’ve got the setting. A tournament, and our first character, a squire, who’s obviously in some sort of trouble.
How long should your story be?
That’s up to you. See how you go. Flash fiction — very short short stories, are under a thousand words. Remember: you need a plot, setting, characterization, and a resolution. Here’s my rule of thumb: when I want to make a story longer, I add another character.
Short story models
There are a mile of story collections on Project Gutenberg. Read Guy de Maupassant. He’s a master.
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