Since seriously trying to write short stories as well as the Brenebourne series, I’ve tended to type directly on to the computer. I have found it helpful to run my short story out on paper just before I think it’s ready to go as I’ve picked up errors that way which I missed when going through the same thing on screen. I don’t know why it’s sometimes easier to see things on paper than on screen but my experience tells me it just is!
The Benefit of Writing Short Stories
The nice thing about short stories is you finish them relatively quickly, you can get them out there, always have something on the go or out there and if you do have any successes it’s useful stuff to put on your writing CV. Writing short stories as well as the novels has made me feel more like a proper writer as I’m submitting work more regularly. I also hope it’ll have a knock on positive effect on the novels too!
Get the balance right between dialogue and narrative. Nobody talks all the time! Keep the narrative fast moving and when it links passages that it does so smoothly so no wrong note is sounded as your readers, hopefully, enjoy your prose!
Raising Hell for your Characters
Give your characters hell! They are not in your story to have an easy time of it else there’s no story. Flaws and virtues must be realistic. A character struggling with a weakness and every so often succumbing to it and then battling back is always interesting to write and read about. Nobody likes a Goody Two Shoes, even in a fairy tale. Your hero/heroine has to have some flaw your readers can identify with yet not be put off by it. That flaw, of course, could be used to drop them right in it
Dialogue in stories should resemble real life speech but not be a direct copy. In life, we hesitate, we repeat ourselves, we um and ah. Put that in fiction and it’ll switch readers off. There is a case for showing a hesitant character but you need to establish the hesitancy quickly and not labour the point. Accents are best avoided - you don’t want your readers to stumble over what you’ve written as that literally breaks the flow. The odd word indicating another language, an odd bit of accented speech is enough to give the idea. Listen to dialogue in speech, on radio (drama, comedy, reporting) and TV. You do absorb. Naturally read dialogue too in differing forms of stories/novels. Again you absorb. You will come across the kind of style that’s suitable for you to use in your work. And do make your dialogue suitable for your characters. You don’t want anything sounding out of character.