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  1. #1
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Writing short stories

    Is it a normal convention to write a short story, but not have a full stop ending?

    Like, having the ending at a small climax, but having an in your face event that shows it isnt the end of the story?

    If you can understand that :D


    I'm currently writing a fictional short story for my English Lit course this semester, and I'm finding it very hard to keep to the word count. (A measly 2000 words) I've already reached 400 and I've barely described the beginning events.

    I've got a rough ladder of how I want to do it.

    Beginning event - Antagonist conflict - Homecoming - Ending Climax

    In the first 400 words I've pointed out that the character has left home. I've hinted at the antagonist conflict which is also a part of the beginning event.

    Can anybody give me any tips on keeping this to the word count and not lose any description/plot?

    Also, does a Short story need a lot of he said/she said?


    Cheers

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Writing short stories

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    Is it a normal convention to write a short story, but not have a full stop ending?

    Like, having the ending at a small climax, but having an in your face event that shows it isnt the end of the story?

    If you can understand that :D
    No, it's not normal unless the reader can work out the denouement from what is already given. You can't tell 3/4 of a story.


    I'm currently writing a fictional short story for my English Lit course this semester, and I'm finding it very hard to keep to the word count. (A measly 2000 words) I've already reached 400 and I've barely described the beginning events.

    I've got a rough ladder of how I want to do it.

    Beginning event - Antagonist conflict - Homecoming - Ending Climax

    In the first 400 words I've pointed out that the character has left home. I've hinted at the antagonist conflict which is also a part of the beginning event.

    Can anybody give me any tips on keeping this to the word count and not lose any description/plot?

    Also, does a Short story need a lot of he said/she said?
    No, if it's obvious who is saying what, you can leave most of those out.

    Cheers
    The only way to keep within the word count is not to write so many words. Is all that description necessary?

  3. #3
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: Writing short stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The only way to keep within the word count is not to write so many words. Is all that description necessary?

    Maybe, maybe not. We'll soon see :D

    So pretty much, for a small part in the beginning there is a bit of a conversation between characters, but through the majority of it, the protagonist is alone, So would I fill that space with describing of what he's doing, Or could I use inner monologue? A good deal of it is self exploration. The protagonist finding himself. Then at the end comes the cliche ending, good guy beats bad guy. Good guy is praised etc :D Or I might spice that up. Honestly I'm sick of the good guy always winning.

    But yeah, currently my main concern is filling conversation, keeping in word count and filling the plot.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Writing short stories

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    Maybe, maybe not. We'll soon see :D

    So pretty much, for a small part in the beginning there is a bit of a conversation between characters, but through the majority of it, the protagonist is alone, So would I fill that space with describing of what he's doing, Or could I use inner monologue? A good deal of it is self exploration. The protagonist finding himself. Then at the end comes the cliche ending, good guy beats bad guy. Good guy is praised etc :D Or I might spice that up. Honestly I'm sick of the good guy always winning.

    But yeah, currently my main concern is filling conversation, keeping in word count and filling the plot.
    When I wrote "description", I meant it technically. "Description" - describing things, as they look, sound, etc. "Narration" - telling what happens.
    "The man had steely blue eyes that seemed to stare right through you" - description.
    "The man slipped silently out of the side door of the warehouse." - narration.
    I wasn't suggesting that you cut back on the narration of the story.
    I don't think it's possible for someone to "find themselves" in a 2000 word story. But he could certainly realise one important aspect of himself. That's called an "epiphany", a sudden insight into something important. Many famous short story writers use this technique.

  5. #5
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: Writing short stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    When I wrote "description", I meant it technically. "Description" - describing things, as they look, sound, etc. "Narration" - telling what happens.
    "The man had steely blue eyes that seemed to stare right through you" - description.
    "The man slipped silently out of the side door of the warehouse." - narration.
    I wasn't suggesting that you cut back on the narration of the story.
    I don't think it's possible for someone to "find themselves" in a 2000 word story. But he could certainly realise one important aspect of himself. That's called an "epiphany", a sudden insight into something important. Many famous short story writers use this technique.

    Hmm. Yes. I may have to cut back on the descriptive scenes....It'll obviously be a crammed short story. But the professor isnt really leaving many options :(

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Writing short stories

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    Hmm. Yes. I may have to cut back on the descriptive scenes....It'll obviously be a crammed short story. But the professor isnt really leaving many options :(
    That should make it easier. The fewer options you have, the fewer choices you need to make.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Writing short stories

    Read some stories from "flash fiction" contests to see how people tell stories VERY briefly.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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