I am Writing a Short Story


Good Morning, Writers

I am writing short story intended for submission to an emerging writers contest. I am about two paragraphs in, and I am stuck!

Here’s the thing. I write poetry, I haven’t published my book yet, my children’s book is waiting for my final cover art to be approved, and I am sitting in pre-publish limbo.

Still, I am writing a short story, and this is a writer’s workshop, so I am asking my writers for help. Here are my questions.

  1. How do you get ideas for your stories? I have been toying with either a fantasy/suspense story based on an incident in childhood and a realistic piece about a character that my parents knew as a child.
  2. How much of your stories do you base on real-life events? How much do you make up?
  3. Do you really write what you know? Or is that kind of a myth?
  4. How do you give your short stories the same structure as a novel? This question is a bit vague, because I haven’t written a novel (yet).
  5. Do you rely on dialogue for exposition?
  6. How much do you reveal about the details of setting and milieu?

So, these are my questions. I think I have a very good idea for a short story, but I don’t want to reveal the details yet.

Here is a sample. Remember, it is still in its rough stages.

Bette peered out her back door. The air was frozen, but she was giddy with anticipation of the arrival of her guests. She could hear footsteps overhead. The children’s bedroom was just above the kitchen. Bette let the door slam as she fell back into the kitchen, hurried around the room, grabbing her metal footstool that she used to reach her good, silver trays that her mother gave her. As she pulled the tray, other items tumbled from the shelf, old telephone books, overdue bills, construction cut outs of Christmas trees and gnawed Tupperware dishes. She hastily shoved the fallen items in the drawer under her range, laid the silver tray on her tin folding table and placed white lace doilies on the dusty surface. Cheese, crackers, brandy, she made a mental list.

Thump!  Boom! She sighed and looked up. Those kids, she thought. Can’t they just let her have one evening with adults? She ignored the muffled yells as she stacked brie, crackers and whole strawberries on the lace. She hurried into the dining room, slipping on the frayed area rug. She reached another treasure that her mother bequeathed her, her beloved Corner Cabinet. It was a lovely Italianate period piece, but the wood trim was broken by one of her boys when he closed the glass door too enthusiastically, a protest for being told to put the dinner dishes away.

Thanks in advance for your help. Remember that this blog is intended to involve its readers in a process.





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