Notifications
Clear all

How to fix a short short story?

 
MrH
 MrH
(@mrh)
Member
Posts: 98

You do some planning for a story, note expected word counts for each section, then write it....

How to flesh it out if it's simply too short? Any ideas?

I don't like simply dumping in extra rooms or what have you to fill space.

Quote
Topic starter Posted : July 17, 2020 8:13 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
Posts: 338

Are any parts confusing at all and need a little more explanation?

As per Dave's tips on character arcs - do you have The Lie, The Wound, New Action, Wants and Needs covered.

Do you have a theme? Does it need more work?

Is the setting well described, does it play a part in the story?

Do you have enough conflicts and a variety of conflict types?

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 17, 2020 9:09 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1115

Are any parts confusing at all and need a little more explanation?

As per Dave's tips on character arcs - do you have The Lie, The Wound, New Action, Wants and Needs covered.

Do you have a theme? Does it need more work?

Is the setting well described, does it play a part in the story?

Do you have enough conflicts and a variety of conflict types?

Good list. (The conflict one is particularly important, IMO, because you want both internal and external conflicts at the very least. I still have to work on this more often than not, myself.)

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 17, 2020 11:51 pm
AndyDibble
(@andydibble)
Bronze Member
Posts: 86

I recommend assigning expected word counts to each section of your story. You want the sections of your story (that could be individual scenes or groups of scenes) to accomplish identifiable tasks (TimE's list is good) without the pacing lagging, not fit a pre-defined word count.

If a scene or section feels to short think about if the description is weak (have you described the setting?) or are there points in the scene that feel abrupt (maybe a character should be re-acting to what another character said/did rather than going off in a new direction).

If you're struggling to make a story that is long enough to win, there's a good chance you can benefit from the "three try/fail cycles" pattern. Does your story only have two attempts by the protagonist to solve their problem? If so, think about another one and then insert more scene(s) to flesh it out. This is also a good way to re-invent the whole story if it doesn't feel right. You might end up thinking of a climax to your story that is more poignant than what you currently have.

Adding to what Liz said about conflict: I tend to classify conflict into three kinds--internal (within the thoughts of the protagonist), interpersonal (between characters or protagonist and the environment), and world-level (between wider elements or groups in the world). Try to hit all three. The third element can improve world-building tremendously. Think about political factions, wars, threats to society. Sometimes those elements are directly driving the protagonist to act; sometimes they only flesh the world out. Either way, your story is likely to improve.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 1, 2020 9:42 pm
czing
(@czing)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 199

I love writing flash fiction. So I guess the question I'd be asking myself in that situation is does the story actually need to be longer?

I've broken stories by trying to add too much to them and it was only once I carved them back down to a shorter version that I was happy with them.

Remember there are flash markets out there too.

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 5, 2020 3:48 am
Share: