Short Story Elements

Short stories are fun to read because they pack an unexpected emotional punch. However, “short” does not mean easy to write, or a formless type of expression. Quite the contrary, they are written and rewritten numerous times with herculean effort to be efficient, banish loose ends, conclude with a plot …

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Writing the Great Ending

Writers are a creative group of people who have invented several satisfying ways to end a story. The Straightforward: The story problem is solved, conflict is resolved and the main character’s journey ends. This is the most common ending, a “happy ending”. The Shocker: Typical of horror, crime and thriller …

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Plot is the Beating Heart of a Story

What allows an author to convert something familiar, important or truthful into a story that is interesting? Simple answer: a plot. A story is NOT your diary, your years working as a gallbladder surgeon or the truth that advertisements lie. Readers want a plot that pulls them from the beginning …

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Keys to Improving the Flow in Your Writing

Editors, publishers, literary agents, and readers love edgy and quirky writing – but not at the expense of writing flow.— Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Flow in writing is difficult to define, but readers always seem to recognize it. A flowing science fiction novel sucks the reader into the story, makes the unbelievable …

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How to Find a Critique Group

Finding a critique group is easy. Follow the advice in this post to start your search. The Personal Way Asking a writer friend is one of the easiest ways to find a critique group. Or try an independent bookstore that sells books by local authors. Check their bulletin board for …

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The Big Reveal and Plot Twists

The best way to create an effective “big reveal” is to have characters search for information, an object, or a person, so that their search leads to the big reveal — even if the big reveal is NOT the thing they were actually looking for. Orson Scott Card Fiction writing …

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Types of Critique Groups

Critique groups fall into several broad categories: Neighborhood writing groups for all genres Urban writing groups in a specific genre Genre-specific groups sponsored by a larger writer’s association (like Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers located in Colorado). A membership fee is required. Ad hoc groups of genre-specific writers that expanded via …

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Elements of a Good Critique

“There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. ” — Robert Graves Like a pilot preparing for takeoff, the person conducting a critique reads the submitted material and “runs a checklist.” Except for grammar, spelling and word choice, the critiquer should not make definitive recommendations to avoid …

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