Society & Culture & Entertainment Literature & Language

How to Write a Breath-Taking Short Story

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      Make notes about your characters' personalities.notebook image by Victor M. from

      Develop your characters. Write some character traits down so you can understand them better. Make notes about who they are in their world, what they want out of life, what they believe in, what they fear and what they love. Describe their physical appearance. Write down where they grew up, who their families are and in what culture they were raised. It is important to understand a character, as it helps to develop the plot. Decide what narration techniques you will employ. Many authors use first-person voice (I saw the sky), while others use second (You saw the sky) or third (Anna saw the sky.) Some authors choose one specific narrator while others write from many points of view. Choose a narrator that works for your story.

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      Base your plot on your characters.Books image by JenJen from

      Make a plot outline based on your characters. Determine the time period, setting, general situation, conflict and resolution. Breathtaking stories typically have strong plot-lines that make a reader feel something or think about something deeply. According to Anna Lamott's national bestselling book "Bird by Bird," characters should always come first when writing any story. They drive the plot---the characters determine where the story goes. Design a plot outline that is written specific to the characters. Many relatively simple plot-lines are made more interesting by the characters' reactions and feelings. Write down a web that lists each scene, even if the scenes are short. Look back on the outline while writing.

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      Make a detailed outline of the plot.writing image by Anna Chelnokova from

      Write the story by using the web that you have outlined. Write each section using detailed and evocative language. Let the characters guide the storyline. Detail the scenes so that the reader has a good idea of what is happening. Use specific language to detail the characters' point of view. Write sentences in a distinctive way that is particular to your story. Instead of simply writing, "Vincent and Morena were total strangers," consider providing more detail to give the sentences more life. Instead, write, "Vincent had never seen this older woman before; she looked like a young, happy Marilyn Monroe. And Morena didn't recognize Vincent's ruddy, wayward face." While not every sentence requires lots of detail, the story should give way to more and more character and plot understanding through use of details.

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      Edit the story so it reads smoothly.pen image by AGphotographer from

      Look back at the story. Make sure the plot is flushed out, ensure that the characters are behaving the way they were intended to and fix any grammar, spelling or structure errors.

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