I need help on starting a short story for class!!!What are elements and resources to help me write a short story?

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wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I often encouraged my students who were stuck on a writing assignment to just write.  It sounds silly, but sometimes we get so hung up on where to start that we block ourselves.  If you're stuck on where to start, jump in anywhere.  Once you have some basic characters and descriptions on paper, you can always go back and add the beginning and end.

Another idea might be to do a story board.  I am a very visual learner and I always drew out sketches before writing this type of story.  Yours might be comic book style or it might just be an outline.  Once you have a better idea of who your characters are and what you want them to do the story will be easier to get down on paper.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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One of the first decisions a writer of a short story has to make is who is going to be the narrator of the story.  Even if it is a personal story, would the tale be better told by an objective third person narrator who can stand outside the action and comment on all of the characters or who could reveal the thoughts of more than one character?  Sometimes first person narrators are more immediate, but they are limiting as well.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When I have my classes write a short story (we are doing one now) I break it up as follows.  1) Write a beginning in which you fully describe the setting, introduce characters, and have an initial conflict (called an inciting incident).  Use descriptive language and figurative language.  2)  Write the rising action.  Give your characters problems to solve on the way to solving the big problem.  Describe your characters fully.  Add dialogue.  3) Write the climax of the story.  This is the most exciting part, which solves the original problem but may present new ones.  Everything changes after the climax. 4)  Write the ending, the falling action and resolution of the story.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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My best advice for creative writing is to begin with something personal and real.  If you are like my students, you might not feel like you have any talent in writing (and such assignments may seem overwhelming), but I think no one can deny that it isn't difficult to tell others about what happened to you last weekend.

Start with something real, something personal, and imbellish.  Turn a work of non-fiction into fiction by adding details and complications that perhaps didn't happen, but could have.

As a result of the truth, your characters and story will display a more natural sense of consistency, but by adding fictional details, you can ensure that your story is also interesting.

Have fun, and good luck!

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It helps in developing the characters for your story if you know ahead of time what the plot of the story will be. If your story requires characters who are experts at some activity (or if you need someone who can't keep a secret, or whatever), that knowledge will help you determine how to develop your characters and their conversations and interactions.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Sometimes it is easier for beginning writers to base the characters on people they know. Stop and think about the major players in your story and who they are. You might want to read through the list of questions at this link and see if you can answer them for your main characters.

Another bit of advice for writing a story - you should show the reader things, rather than telling him. If you can add detail through what your characters say and do, instead of through descriptions, that makes the story much more interesting.

accessteacher's profile pic

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

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To add to #2, consider the characters that are going to occupy your story. This of course will relate explicitly to the main conflict that your story will contain, and whether that conflict is internal or external. You also might like to think about whether your characters are going to change or stay the same, whether they will be static or dynamic. Linked to this will be your choice of narration. If you choose to tell the story in first person, this will greatly help build up a picture of a character.

belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

To begin with, you need a plot. This can be as simple as "Two men meet, speak about business, and depart." It won't be an amazing story, but it will be a story.

Try to invest your story with some sort of conflict. Your two businessmen might be rivals, trying to buy the same property.

Give them distinctive voices. One might be more professional than the other, one might speak with an accent.

At the very least, make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. It doesn't have to be exciting or memorable as long as something happens. Anything at all.

See this link for more information about story structure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramatic_structure#Freytag.27s_analysis

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jenrhe | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Thanks guys for All this information as really improved on how my story was going. When my teacher explained how to make a short story was a little confusing and all of you h=guys cleared it up for me, thank you! oh ya and my story was about 2 girls who fought since the 2nd grade and now there in 8th and one girl named christine hwang gets revenge on her and the battle started. and i got an A for the story!

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