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Write a short story to engage readers a strong plot, complex characters, and a vivid...

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idontlikeschool0 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 9, 2013 at 5:15 AM via web

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Write a short story to engage readers a strong plot, complex characters, and a vivid setting. The goal in writing is entertain your readers and express yourself creatively.

Brainstorm some ideas for your short story. Look at the pictures in a magazine, or browse through your own photos; maybe you have an interesting picture of a place you went to visit. Or, think of something that happened to you recently; write down ideas that could have made the situation more difficult or complicated.

Remember who your audience is and your purpose for writing.

It must have an introduction, 3 detailed paragraphs, several lines of dialogue, and a conclusion paragraph.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 9, 2013 at 5:29 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a question that requires you to think of the basis for your own short story. The question asks you to use information that could be relevant to your own life or to find inspiration in media around you. Either way, you need to think very carefully about what you want your story to be about and how to construct it. I have included a link below to an enotes guide on short stories that will help you in this task. However, my best suggestion is to go away and read some short stories yourself to see how other writers have constructed their short stories. There are a number of very brief short stories which manage to create a strong plot, a vivid setting and complex characters, and you would do well to consider how this operates. 

A key to engaging your audience is a very punchy opening that draws your readers in and also hooks them by making them wonder what is going on. An undisputed master of the short story form is Edgar Allen Poe. Note how he started his famous short story "The Tell-Tale Heart":

True!--nervous--very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses--not destroyed--not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily--how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

This is a perfect example of an opening that intrigues the reader as we debate what is actually going on and what kind of character would talk like this. Centrally, it introduces the question of whether the narrator is mad or not. You might also want to look up some of the short stories of Saki on the internet to help you get some good ideas. He writes darkly comic stories that amuse and entertain. Try "The Open Window" and "Dusk" for starters. My final suggestion is when you have an idea, work very hard on planning it out before you start writing. You need to have a very clear idea with a short story of where it is going and how you are going to use each word. As a short story is, as its name suggests, "short," you need to make each word count, and there is no space for unecessary language that is not helping you achieve your aim. Good luck, and enjoy the process as best you can!

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