Issues specific to writing short fiction. A short story is generally a work of fiction that's shorter than a novel.

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22
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6answers
1k views

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

When writing a short-story, is it typically a better practice to construct a point to exemplify through the short-story when writing to highlight a certain truth? In other words, construct the ...
14
votes
4answers
347 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
2k 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 reveal the ...
12
votes
5answers
748 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
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
231 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What are some regular contests unpublished short story authors might enter?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 ...
8
votes
5answers
210 views

Writing 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 ...
7
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
370 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
430 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
645 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
358 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
2k 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. ...
6
votes
6answers
162 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
898 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?
6
votes
1answer
153 views

What can an agent do for me if I only write short stories?

Recently, I have been having moderate success with my short stories, being selected to have my work read at several local literary events and winning a competition for a major literary journal. I ...
5
votes
5answers
328 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Should a novella have chapters?

Is it appropriate to use chapter breaks in works shorter than novel-length? I feel as though the text requires breakpoints peridocially, and if it were a novel, I'd place chapter breaks there, but in ...
5
votes
4answers
723 views

Does this opening paragraph grab your attention? (very normal setting)

This is the beginning of a short story I'm writing: Jun was standing motionless at entrance of the 7-eleven. He was staring down, searching for something in his memory as students picked their ...
5
votes
4answers
429 views

Do I need to know anything to write a short story that I wouldn't know by studying how to write novels?

For a long time now, I've been reading books on how to get the first draft of a novel written. I've finally begun putting the knowledge I've gathered to practice and look forward to the results. In ...
5
votes
2answers
785 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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) ...
5
votes
1answer
282 views

How can I find short-story spinoffs for my fantasy epic?

I write epic fantasy; I've written two trilogies in a joint setting, and am writing further books in the same setting. I would like to start writing short stories for my setting as well - stories ...
5
votes
1answer
25 views

What information should I provide when submitting a translated, previously-published story?

A friend of mine has published a short story in Hebrew, and I'm currently translating it into English, for submission to short fiction magazines. Is any information about the original publication ...
5
votes
2answers
361 views

What are the advantages to setting a word limit for a short story?

In the past when I've written short stories, I've found that setting a word limit tends to make my writing more focused and concise (generally, the limits have been imposed by a course I was taking). ...
5
votes
1answer
43 views

What editing can I expect for a translation of a previously-published story?

A friend of mine has published a short story in Hebrew, and I'm currently translating it into English, for submission to short fiction magazines. If accepted, will the editing process be any ...
4
votes
7answers
170 views

Level of description in a story

I have often come across stories where the author has described a particular scene or action of a character in minute details. e.g. If a character has to open a door, the description is about how the ...
4
votes
7answers
981 views

Short Story first or skip to Screenplay

I'm planning to shoot and direct my own short, small budget science fiction movie as a long term project to learn more about movie making. However, I'm at the very start where I need to write a draft ...
4
votes
7answers
306 views

Does this passage break the rules of telling and not showing?

I wrote a story called Tempo, which I enjoy (this does not mean that it is good), but that has a chunk where the main character has an internal monologue. This is usually bad, but I can't tell how bad ...
4
votes
3answers
933 views

How to sell novel excerpts as short stories

Occasionally I've seen novel excerpts published in short story venues. They're usually sections of a recent or forthcoming novel that also hold together as a self-contained story. Alternately, ...
4
votes
2answers
208 views

How to shorten meandering dialogue?

My story Cured (which I've asked about before, but has undergone major revisions since then), has an extremely large section of dialogue that annoys my beta tester. I agree with her that it should be ...
3
votes
2answers
805 views

Multiple Point of View characters in a short story

I'm working on a short story (maximum of 6,000 words) and realized that I will need to have two point-of-view (POV) characters. Let's call them Greg and Jeff. This became necessary when I saw that ...
3
votes
3answers
423 views

What work better for the following piece of writing? Past or present tense?

I'm writing a short story but I'm not sure whether to write it in the past or the present tense. This is the opening paragraph: Sophia was awakened by the rattling sound of her washing machine. ...
3
votes
3answers
207 views

How to become a productive/accomplished writer?

I prefer writing short stories. Over the years, I have learnt many essential skills that I employ in my work. I believe (and this is my personal assessment) that my stories are of good quality (i.e ...
3
votes
3answers
94 views

Are contests an effective way to gauge the quality of your writing?

I'm gearing up to start writing after a bit of a hiatus. But rather than just jump in and start on a novel (which will take several months, at best, to create and even then it might not be very good) ...
3
votes
1answer
249 views

What factors to consider when choosing an e-book platform?

Some students that I mentor have written a number of short stories that they want to publish now. I am totally new in this area. I did preliminary research which indicates that there are now a ...
3
votes
2answers
377 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
267 views

Do flashbacks break up short stories too much?

Recently, I wrote a short story that contains a flashback in the middle that was used to explain a major plot point in the story. Does a significant scene set as a flashback break up the flow of a ...
3
votes
2answers
242 views

What are the common editing requirements for a short story in an anthology?

What kind of responses will come back from an editor after a short story is accepted in an anthology? Specifically, is it common for a writer to hear that an accepted story has potential but needs ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Where to publish Edgar Allan Poe style fiction short story?

Does anyone know of any reputable literary magazines which publish this type of short story? I would prefer a magazine that takes free submissions.
3
votes
1answer
135 views

Where could I get a sports fiction short story published?

I've found Stymie magazine, but are there any other magazines devoted primarily to sports themed fiction writing? I think my story stands on its own as it is more about the relationship between the ...
2
votes
5answers
375 views

Techniques for creating variety in prose

When I write my short stories, I usually end up using a direct style as follows: Tim remembered the day he had to say goodbye to Cathy. He did not really have a choice. He had to let go of Cathy, ...
2
votes
3answers
202 views

How to decide whether or not to accept publishing offer for short story?

I am an unpublished writer straight out of college. After graduation, I sent out a few stories to a handful of places-- no more than five or six. It is now about 1.5 months later and I just received a ...
2
votes
3answers
161 views

Does a character have to define himself to be engaging?

I have a short story named Cured (which asks the question "What if you could take a pill to increase your empathy?"), in which the main character (Tony) doesn't talk or show much about himself until ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Evoking happiness in a very short story

Hemingway has the canonical very short story: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. This piece manages to evoke a strong emotion of sadness. Wired has a piece on this motif. In it there are several ...
2
votes
5answers
213 views

Hooking the reader by omitting a piece of information

I'm writing a short story. I decided to opening it in the following way: We were in Y, doing Z when she mentioned X. I wasn't sure whether she had misheard X's name or had gotten the wrong ...
2
votes
3answers
418 views

How do I stick to one story?

I have been writing bits and pieces for quite a while now. I just can't ever follow through. I have written tons of poems (close to 50) but the only reason they have been possible is because I can ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Is it a bad idea to turn a short story into a full-length novel?

I've written a couple of short stories. I'm really satisfied with some of them, and I would like to turn them into full-length novels. They were meant to be short stories from the beginning, but I ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

Is it possible to publish stories with experimental spacing technique? (aka, blank pages, etc.)

I've got a few stories that employ experimental stylistics. The piece that is giving me the most trouble, though, is split up into five sections-- each section begins on its own page. It's hard to ...