Alas, we’ve reached the final part of our Intro to Short Fiction blog series. But wipe your tears. Pull up your socks. We still have work to do.
Hopefully you’ve got a bunch of story ideas or at least story-starters, some fundamental truth nuggets, and an anecdote or two that might end up as stories. So what do you do now? Well, pick your favourite and write a story. JUST LIKE THAT. Except not just like that, of course, because if it was that easy there wouldn’t be so much terrible fiction in the world. But really, what’s holding you back? The anecdotes in your head could keep you in story fodder for the rest of your life – the real work is turning those ideas into something tangible and resonant and full of human truths. But you won’t get there if you don’t start writing. So write. Get it wrong. Get it right. Scrap everything. Pick out two sentences from a thousand that work. Start again.
Look, we’re not going to lie to you. This blog series is really just a cynical marketing ploy to get you to sign up to the big kahoona Writing Short Fiction course so we’re not going to give away *all* our secrets now. But here’s one last little exercise to get you well on your way to tip-tappity-juicy-fingers-flowing-over-the-keyboard short story writing…
One last little exercise:
Pick your favourite of the three ideas you’ve come up with so far and then do this:
- Give your protagonist a name. Put three things in their pocket or bag. (Eg: Betsy. A dog-eared photo of her family. A packet of mints. A phone number with an overseas dialling code.)
- Write down where your character might start this story-world-question-answer-adventure-thing. (Lying on the floor in her flat, which is piled high with dusty comics and empty jars. It smells of urine and lavender.)
- Write down where they might end the story. (Still physically in the flat, but in a magical wonderland in her head.)
NB: don’t worry too much about these start and end points. You’re not writing a story that HAS to win the Sunday Times Short Story Award. You’re just playing around and seeing what happens. Relax. Have fun. Things can always change from draft to draft. The important bit is GETTING SOMETHING DOWN ON PAPER.
So set a timer for 30 minutes and write. Get that character from beginning to end, somehow.
Waaah, it’s over. What’s next?
Then: Sign yo’ good self up to our great big spanking Writing Short Fiction course to find out how to turn your nugget of human truth into story-fuelling conflict; develop your characters into real life people; explore settings, details, and timelines; learn how to plot, structure and experiment with your stories; find out how to edit and redraft, and even submit your stories to lit mags and competitions; get feedback on your stories in our private student group; and advice from award-winning short fiction writers… IT’S MASSIVE. You really don’t want to miss out. You should book now. Like, now. Go on.
Next: Who likes short shorts? We like short shorts. Fancy having more short fic in your life? Check out these great resources and get your work out there:
- Take a look at Six Word Stories or the #twitfic hashtag on Twitter for some teeny tiny stories
- Read The Essentials of Micro Fiction by Camille Renshaw at PiF Magazine
- Try your hand at a 60-second story with the One Word fiction challenge
- Browse these fine publications for more short shorts, and submit your own (but ALWAYS read the submission guidelines first)!