How the Dickens do you Short Story?

Before you make incorrect assumptions based on the title of this post, I should state that it has nothing to do with Dickens (Charles or otherwise) and everything to do with Short Stories.

I can’t write them.

At least I can’t now. Whether I will be able to in the future – and it had better be the very *near* future or I’m in trouble – who knows? Right now I must own up to being unaccustomed to the medium of short story and wholly unsure as to how to make myself au fait with them before it is vitally important. By which I mean the 9th of January when the Fiction TMA will be due.

All the story ideas I’ve had take root in my noggin recently have been of at least novel-length size (my current WIP is the first of three novels should I get round to finishing the damn draft). I’m a very wordy, overly verbose person at the best of times and just plain rambling at my worst. So the concept of telling a complete story in less than 5,000 words is almost inconceivable to me. How the hell does anyone manage it? I could possibly, maybe tell a short story from within a larger narrative but to create a little world in a tiny bubble that can never burst seems almost impossible.

The various books on writing that I own all focus on novels so trying to find some guidance and tips for writing short stories is going to take a bit more searching on my part. Any handy resources that my fellow A215ers may know of, from the interwebs or books will be greatly appreciated as I desperately need to learn how to mould a teeny-tiny story rather than launching into a 90K word novel.

Also I would like to take a moment to ask a nervous favour. I put up some bits of my writing related to my WIP on Wattpad last month, one is actually the raw first draft of the beginning of the book (we’re talking seriously raw, I wrote it and haven’t touched the actual text since) and the other is a piece that is not part of the novel but took place some years prior to it. It’s that piece I would like some feedback on as to whether it may be suitable to work as a short story. It’s called One Cold Winter’s Night and is told from the POV of my main character in 1st person rather than the 3rd person POV I’ve been writing the novel in.

Any thoughts on its potential would be greatly appreciated.

Now I’m going to run away from my laptop and hide for a while. (If you can’t tell, the idea of strangers reading my work is rather terrifying)



3 thoughts on “How the Dickens do you Short Story?

  1. Pingback: Wednesday’s Cup o’Thoughts (10/9/2014) | Ray May Write

  2. I’ll gladly have a look later!

    I often find when I want to write a short story, I try and think of a scene to start with and explain the reason for it. Like, I might have a woman crying on the backseat of a car, and then use analepsis to reveal the whys and the wheres. You know? Just one way of tackling it. But there are so many different ways to take on the short story.

    Poe was the master!! Kazuo Ishiguro and Angela Carter are cracking short story writers too.


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