(I may even enter it in a contest - though it would have to have a cool logo like the one above:)
Although I edit short stories for others and read them constantly, the truth is:
Crafting a short story invokes my deepest fears...also fire-breathing dragons.
To qualm my litany of phobias, I thought I'd remind myself of some rules I keep in my back pocket when I'm giving feedback to those other fearless short story writers. They are:
(For hard-core visual learners, see sample photo above:)
1. Come out swinging
No tiptoeing through the tulips on your first page; if you've got to trounce through any flowers, make them roses with sharp thorns. Otherwise flee that garden and dive into the meat of your story. Nuff said.
2. Local Colour (yes, in Canada we spell it with a 'u')
The greatest short stories I've read have made me feel that this specific story could only have happened in this exact setting while, at the same time, evoking a sense of experience, or possibility, or memory of something in my own cultural setting. Cultural ambience is key, provides a tone and ideally a unique rhythm to the storytelling itself.
No flat characters here! Three-dimensional character development is an absolute must as well as the personalities need to fit the fiction. Give them secrets and if they ever become stereotypes, kill them off! And speaking of killing. . .
4. Kill Your Babies
Tight writing is key in a great short story. Even if you love them, dismiss any non-essential characters, descriptions or complications that aren't integral to the underlying pattern.
5. Be a Shit Disturber
Take a quiet, normal event and create conflict and tension that will keep the reader glued to their chair unable to go take a piss.
Learn more about short story tips from Kurt Vonnegut (You Tube video included);
Or maybe you'd rather learn from Edgar Allen Poe;
Or if, like me, you're an Alice Munro fan you'll like this interview.
Wishing one & all a fabulous weekend!