I’ve been spending more and more time, of late, working with people who’ve enrolled on my online short fiction course, which I’ve been enjoying an awful lot. So, as it’s been a while since I posted anything about how to write, I thought I’d pop this up again, my top tips for writing good short fiction. Loads of people seemed to find it useful the previous couple of times I’ve mentioned it here, and I hope that that’s the case again.
So here they are:
Short Story and Flash Fiction Tips
Here are my tips for anyone wanting to write a good short story or piece of flash fiction:
• Start where the story starts, not before. If I was telling you about a fantastic hotel room I’d stayed in I wouldn’t start by telling you about booking the tickets to get there (unless the story was about booking the tickets and ended in the room).
• Take out everything, every word, every sentence, every character that isn’t absolutely necessary.
• Be suspicious of anything you think is clever. The story comes first, the story’s what people should notice, not the writer.
• Say what you want to say in the simplest, and most effective, way possible. In other words: get to the point.
• Don’t be afraid of failure. Nothing’s wasted. It’s better to try something new and fail (and perhaps learn something) than to play safe all the time.
• Most importantly: BE BRAVE. You have an imagination, use it. Write the story you want to write, write what you think’s good and interesting, even if that means not sticking with the norm. Different, if done well, can be brilliant.
• And read the greats. See how they do things. See why they’re the greats.