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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How To Write A Short Story



Supernatural means anything above and beyond what is natural, something we will never be able to understand. Supernatural characters include demons, spirits and angels. This genre has become pretty popular. Whenever I can, I love to write a supernatural story, so I’m giving you 6 tips if you’d like to do the same.

1. Have characters that are supernatural beings, like angels. Something fun would be to mix different creatures that wouldn’t normally go together, like vampires and fairies. That could lead to quite a funny story.

2. Give your characters power, such as the ability to fly, Telepathy, healing touch, or storm manipulation. There are many supernatural powers from talking to animals to super strength. Try to match up the power (or powers) you pick for your characters with their personalities. Or give your characters a power that wouldn’t be expected. A seemingly weak teenager can have an extraordinary power that involves a lot of strength. You can find lists of superpowers on Google.

3. Set your story in a place unlike our world, such as the underworld. Or you can create a whole new world, a new planet, a new universe. You can also keep our world as the setting but change it beyond our understanding of Earth by revealing something our world doesn't have, such an underground fortress beneath a major city full of fallen angels.

4. Include extraordinary plot events that can’t be explained by science or nature, such as a character coming back to life or the use of a godly power. A supernatural story, with supernatural characters, tend to be full of strange events, both big and small, but it can also have events that are typical. For example: your young adult character going to college.

5. Keep up the supernatural element throughout the story. This can be done with apparitions of spirits, the use of powers on a daily basis for mundane chores, or simply the continuous presence of different supernatural beings.

6. Use a good vs evil story line. Let angels battle demons, or humans battle vampires. As a matter of fact, you can spin a new good vs evil battle. Remember the vampires and fairies I mentioned? That could actually be a dark story. Imagine vampires and fairies fighting to the death.

Whatever you do, stay true to the story you're telling. If you have vampires in your story, research vampire lore so you won't have your vampires out in the sun, frolicking on a beach somewhere.

There’s a lot of debate between what makes a story supernatural and what makes it paranormal, since the two have very close definitions. 

If you look at the publishing world, a novel can have supernatural beings in it, but if it has a strong romance theme, it is described as paranormal-romance. Confusing? Yes. But I guess the publishing world can make its own rules.

My advice is to write the story you want to write, with the characters you want. You can ask your beta readers for their opinion on the genre later.


Photo by Chrys Fey

For a short story, there is still a beginning, middle, and end. Just because it’s short doesn’t mean you have the excuse to avoid the middle of the story and jump right to the climax. Actually, there is no excuse for it ever. But instead of a list of events that make up the plot, all you really need is a single event. Or a couple.

The beginning of a short story introduces the characters, reveals the setting, and immediately gets into what is supposed to happen. A small event in the beginning can lead to the one big event and the climax.


For example: A romance story can begin with the main character meeting someone. They go out on a date, have a good time, and then get in a car accident. The car accident can be the big event and climax can be tragic or happy. It’s your story, short or otherwise, so you get to decide what happens.
Photo by Chrys Fey



If you’re still not sure, the best thing to do is read (and study) short stories by different authors. The next best thing is just to write. Give it a shot, even if you’re unsure. It may not be perfect the first time around, and that is normal. Writers write, and they rewrite more than they care to admit. Go beyond the third draft until you have a short story you are proud of. No one is counting. Only you will know how many tries it took.

But it will get easier. After I wrote my first short story, I started to get ideas for other short stories. Now I have a small collection, and so could you.

All you have to do is try.


All you have to do is WRITE!


 

2 comments:

  1. To make a long story short (no pun intended!), I have always thought that in a novel, the main character has to go through some sort of significant change, while in a short story, that is not always the case. Short story writing is an art unto itself and worth exploring further!

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