Friday, January 19, 2007

What Makes A Good Short Story?

Well, certainly, I’m no expert as I too have yet to crack Glimmertrain (but I will dang it!), but after a year of reading short stories submitted to The Scruffy Dog Review, I’m getting to see a familiar formula in the accepted work.

With a short story, even one as long as three-thousand words, you have less room to tell the story in order to wrap it up as neat as possible. So, creative and complex characters have to be fleshed out quicker, the plot needs to explode within the first few paragraphs and you have to use the most appropriate words to paint the story in the mind of the reader.

Many stories we read and reject start too slowly. If I, as the editor, cannot get interested in the story by the fourth paragraph at the latest, I probably won’t read much further. Most of the stories tell a great tale, but get too bogged down in the details. I need only enough to paint the picture and no more. The skill is to balance the movement and detail to give me the right mix.

Fresh and unique storylines that are well-written are most certainly going to hold our attention. Our editors are very picky and with odds are stacked even greater when compared to the sheer volume of submissions we receive.

It is the opinion of this editor that stories which snap from the pages, make us shiver or cry or leave a lingering image in our minds are the stories that are going to get published both here at the Scruffy Dog Review and all other publications!

Good luck and get writing!


Post a Comment

<< Home