You Can Write A Short Story: Part 3 The Climax

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

You Can Write A Short Story: Part 3 The Climax

by Linda S. Dupie

You’ve worked hard on your story, now it’s time to round out the story with your ending. This is the time to exit your story gracefully.

Once you’ve reached the final climax of your story, you should end quickly. Your reader’s interest drops quickly from this point on. A brief paragraph or two is all you’ll need.

You’ll need to exercise a little restraint with the ending; you shouldn’t have to spell out the lesson learned. The reader should have come to that conclusion from reading your beginning and middle.

For example, you’ve written a story where your main character is trying out for the school football team. He’s small and doesn’t know the other kids. He has overcome his obstacles and made the team, making the team is the final climax. Your reader should already see from his actions he’s elated, you need to wrap up the story without summarizing.

Example Ending

Walking off the field after the first practice, Ray joked with the other players and made plans for the weekend.

You’ve now brought closure to his other obstacle of not knowing the other kids and you’ve placed him on the practice field without summarizing the story.

Tips to Remember

  • Your story should get off to a quick start, with a hint of the conflict to come.
  • “Show, don’t tell”
  • Your story should build to a climax that resolves your main conflict.
  • Your main character is the one resolving the main conflict.
  • Avoid summarizing the theme of the story and let your readers draw their own conclusions.
  • Finally, does your title pique the reader’s interest?

You’ve ended your story and left the reader satisfied great job! Keep writing.

Visit the website at: http://www.lindasdupie.com  

You Can Write A Short Story: Part 2 The Meat of the Story

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

You Can Write A Short Story: Part 2 The Meat of the Story

by Linda S. Dupie

Many writers call the middle the meat of the story, but I like to think of it as an OREO cookie. The creme filling is what holds the ends together, just as the middle of your story should bring the beginning and ending of your story together.

The middle is the part of the story where your conflict builds for your hero/heroine. Depending on the length of your story, you may have a couple of set backs before your hero/heroine triumphs in the end. For example, we used a 1000-word count in part 1 of this series, so we’ll continue with it. In part one, it was said that your opening should be no longer than one-fifth of your word count, so for the allotted 1000 words that is 200 words. That means your middle should be around 600 words, thus leaving you with 200 words to end your story. As you can see 1000 words is not much when you have a story to tell.

My advice for a story of this length is to use one major obstacle and focus on how your hero/heroine works to overcome the conflict. As your character moves through the story, s/he should be working to obtain their goal for the ending.

This sounds like a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember the phrase “show, don’t tell” will help. Whether your character is overcoming an inner conflict or physical one, using action and dialog keeps your story moving.

Detail is great, just don’t get bogged down by describing every little detail, it’s good to leave a little to the readers own imagination.

If your character is overcoming an inner conflict (feelings/emotional), then use their action in conjunction with dialog to show the steps they take to overcome their obstacle. Does s/he talk his problem out with a doctor or trusted friend? Then write the dialog. Once your character has talked it through, make sure your hero/heroine arrives at the solution and not one of your supporting characters. That cheats the reader and undermines your hero/heroine’s credibility.

For longer stories, 1500-2,500 words your lead character might have to overcome two or more obstacles to gain what they are after.

Points to Remember

Show, don’t tell. Use action and dialogue to keep your story moving along.

Stay in the correct point of view (POV). If you are telling the story from your hero/heroine’s POV, then you can’t jump to another character to tell the story.

Keep your tenses consistent. If you have chosen to tell the story in the third person, be sure not to slip into first person or vice versa.

You don’t have many words to work with in a 1,000-word story so choose the best possible words to get your story across to the reader. More often than not, a reader would like the writer to get to the point of the story. Just be sure to choose the right words.

Now, grab your thesaurus if you haven’t already and work on making your middle the creme filling that holds your story together.

Next tying up the loose ends: your ending.
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Visit the website at: http://www.lindasdupie.com  

You Can Write A Short Story Part 1 The Story Idea

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

You Can Write A Short Story Part 1 The Story Idea

by Linda S. Dupie

So, you want to write a short story. There is more to writing it, than just telling a story. Have you heard the phrase “Show, don’t tell?” If you haven’t, then remember it. Show; don’t tell means to use your characters to convey the story through their actions and dialogue.

Before you can put this information to work, you need a story idea. Choose your idea and shape it with these six rules.

  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Story Structure
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Style and tone

The Theme is the story you are trying to tell this could be something that can help in our lives or convey a message. You don’t want to be preachy to your reader, and at the same time, you shouldn’t have to explain what the moral of the story is. Your reader should be able to learn that through your story.

To keep the reader interested you need a Plot, conflict or struggle that your main character has to overcome. The struggle can be with another character or something inside the character such as feelings. The main character or hero/heroine should win or lose on their own and not be rescued by someone.

The conflict should intensify as the story moves forward and should reach its climax at the end of the story.

*Steps to plotting-Conflict starts; things go right for the hero/heroine, things go wrong, final victory.

For Story Structure, best advice is to jump right into the action, let the reader know who the hero/heroine is. Here’s where you’ll need to decide whether to tell your story in “first person” or “third person.”

First person is telling the story as if it were happening to you, using the pronoun “I.” Third person is telling the story as if it’s all about other people, using the pronouns “he”, “she”, “it”.

If you choose to use the third person point of view, tell the story through the eyes of just one character-usually the hero/heroine.

Now, decide whether you’ll tell the story in the present or past tense. Past tense is writing the story as if it already happened, present tense is writing the story as it is happening right now. Once you have chosen your tense “stick to it,” don’t switch between tenses as it will confuse your reader and they will leave your story unfinished.

Decide on a Setting, a place and time that are interesting and familiar.

Style and tone is the language you use that is right for your story. Whenever you can use action and dialogue to let the reader know what’s happening, “show, don’t tell.”

Put dialogue in direct quotes like “Come help!” instead of indirect quotes as “He told her to come help.” You don’t need complicated words to write well; in fact simpler is usually better. Simple words and sentences are easier to understand.

Finally, choose the best word-the one that is closest to your meaning and gives the clearest image possible. If you can’t think of a word, use your thesaurus.

Now that you have some background of what your short story needs, it’s time to start writing. To use these six rules effectively you’ll need to add a beginning, middle, and ending.

The beginning of the story is important, because it’s what draws your reader in. The best way to do this is to jump right into the story. Be as direct as you can, if you have a 1,000-word limit your beginning should not take up more than a fifth of your word limit (200 words), or no more than a typed double spaced page.

When writing short stories you don’t have the luxury of many scene changes, so to help you collect your thoughts write down all your ideas for the opening-the introduction of your hero/heroine and his/her problem. Make sure to give the reader a clear picture of the main elements of your story. The reader needs to be able to visualize your characters and the setting.

Below are two examples of openings to short stories.

Dialogue

“I’m thinking of something that begins with the letter ‘W’,” said Mary.

“Is it the window?” asked Sam. “Window begins with the letter ‘w’.”

Narrative

John waited in the principal’s office. He wondered why it was taking so long. It had already been an hour. He knew this because he’d glanced at his watch as each minute passed. He wanted to leave, but he knew he must wait. It was required.

Now, work on the opening of your story, next you’ll learn how to put together a suspenseful middle.
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Visit the website at: http://www.lindasdupie.com

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