Three more tips for writing short stories!

  • Sharebar

iUniverse returns with Part 2 of our short story workshop. As Edgar Allan Poe said, a short story should be able to be read in one sitting. Keeping this in mind, today we will discuss what type of setting to choose, as well as a time frame.

short stories

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Setting. A short story should try its best to stick to one setting. This may be difficult to do, so the general rule is to stay within the same city. (An exception is science-fiction, which often treats entire planets in the way that other genres, e.g. mystery, treat a city.) Some writers have even managed to make their story take place within the same house, or even the same room! (See Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, respectively, for examples.)

Time frame. A short story is similar to a play, in that the action should take place over a short period of time. A period of two to three weeks would be the maximum. Have a look at Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and you will see that from start to finish, they are wrapped up in about a fortnight.

Writing style. While iUniverse would never dream of telling you how to write, do bear in mind that the short story, because of its brevity, prioritizes clarity over complexity. A good example is James Joyce, who was one of the most experimental novelists of all time but whose short story collection, Dubliners, contains tales told rather straightforwardly. Save the stream-of-consciousness and expositions of literary flourish for your novel, where you have the space and a greater investment of time from the reader.

We’ll be back with Part Three!

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.



Related posts:

Do you have a topic in mind?

The iUniverse Blog encourages discussion between iUniverse authors and is designed as a platform for you to let us know about your book’s success, your book events and other news you think will be of interest to your fellow writers. iUniverse authors are invited to participate in the iUniverse Blog as guest bloggers. Please contact us if you would like to be an iUniverse guest blogger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>