……….. Make your ideas work
For a successful story you’re going to need three things:
One or more characters
It helps if we like your protagonist (the main character), but that doesn’t always have to be the case. The important thing is that we empathise with them. Then we start caring about them, and this makes us want to carry on reading. We want to find out what happens to them.
A setting, where the story takes place
Where-ever it is, a living room, a busy department store, the middle of the moors, or the far side of the moon, the reader should be able to picture what’s going on in his/her head. This doesn’t require paragraphs of description. A phrase can sometimes paint a few brushstrokes which inspire the reader to fill in the rest of the details from his/her imagination.
There’s a problem that needs to be solved, or some sort of conflict to overcome. It could be that someone is treated like a servant by her step-sisters and is desperate to go to the forthcoming ball. Or maybe someone has to deal with a control freak at work. Or perhaps the problem lies within the protagonist himself. Can he pluck up the courage to do that bungee jump he boasted about and signed up for? Did he really think he could impress that sporty-looking girl at the gym?
CONFLICT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE VIOLENT, BUT IT HAS TO BE BELIEVABLE
Next time you read a really good short story, ask yourself, why do I like it? Why does this work so well?
Think about the following:
What made me like or empathise with the main character?
Which words or phrases made me visualize the setting in my mind?
Why was the plot successful? Was it different, funny, quirky?
Characters, settings and plots are the nuts and bolts of story-writing.
Isn’t it obvious?
I’m trying to empathise with the birds.