Transcription: How to Write a Short Story in 6 Steps - YouTube

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00:00:00
Hi Jerry Jenkins, here talking about writing today.

I want to show you a proven six step process for writing.
A compelling short story way.
A short story had not a novel I'll have a video on doing that too.

But frankly, the biggest mistake you could make as a new writer would be to start your career with a novel.
A novel should not be where you begin, but rather, where you arrive in fact starting.
Your writing.

Career with a novel would be like attending graduate school when you should be in elementary school there's a lot to learn and you'll progress, much faster.
If you start small, like with short stories, you'll face many of the same obstacles and dilemmas and questions you'd face when creating fiction of any length and you'll learn to work with an editor and be critiqued, and you just might get a quarter million cliches.
Out of your system, ideally you'll, learn proven fiction writing techniques and gain confidence and momentum.

Now, before we dive in, let me tell you about a free bonus at the end of this video, a guide to help you overcome writer's block start your short story and, most importantly, finish.
It so stay with me to the end, to get that special bonus.
All right, the first step to writing a compelling short stories to read as many great ones as you can find, and I mean dozens and dozens of them seriously, especially the classics familiarize yourself with the best in this genre study.

What works for the experts then try to emulate their work soon enough you'll find your own voice and develop your own style where, to start with the work of Brett Lott, a modern-day master.
Look him up online and dig in then google classic short stories and you'll run across several of my favorites, the tell-tale heart by Edgar, Allan Poe, but fall of the House of Usher also by Poe the pit and the pendulum.

00:01:48
Also by Poe the Gift of the Magi by oh Henry, the Ransom of the red chief, also by oh Henry, the necklace by Guy de Maupassant, the celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain.


00:02:04
The lady and the tiger by Frank Stockton.
And one of my all-time favorites, the most dangerous game by Richard Connell I'll leave that slide up for you for a bit if you want to jot those down, but of course you can always pause this recording to now.
This may sound like strange advice, but it's important give yourself permission to be bad at reading short stories at first reading.

The modern-day masters and the classics should inspire you to try your hand at this, which is the point of this video, but your first efforts are not likely to match the quality of the best short story, writers in history, but think about it.
You don't remember, learning to walk either, but you've seen toddlers do this.
They plop down dozens at times before they finally get the hang of it same with learning to ride a bike or dance or bake a cake.

Just treat your first efforts as learning experiences and eventually you'll refine your skills and get better at it.
The second step to writing a compelling short story is to come up with a winning idea at its core fiction: writing isn't about rules or techniques or someone else's idea.
It's about your story, well told compelling story.

Ideas are all around you, so train yourself to recognize them here are three strategies to generating story.

00:03:20
Ideas first learn to recognize the germ.
You might remember a person, a problem, some tension, a time of fear, ask yourself what, if questions about it, what if that had turned out differently? What, if I didn't, have an alibi for a devastating accusation? What if my loved one had died stories are born from such questions, then create characters from people.

You know, friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives form the basis for the characters who inhabit your story but be sure to mix and match their characteristics.
You might use one's gender another's age and others looks another's tone of voice.
You name it you'll wind up with a character with recognizable traits, but no one who can be assumed to be your soul model.


00:04:04
Lastly, get your story down, write your first draft to simply get down the basics of your story without worrying about grammar, cliches redundancies or anything, but the plot you'll get back to it later, so you can edit and revise it all you want, but for now just Get it down this requires taking off your perfectionist cap.
While writing.
So you don't slow yourself to a crawl trying to fix things as you go.

Okay, the third step to writing a compelling short story is to narrow your scope.
Naturally, there's a drastic difference between a full-length novel and a short story containing about two percent of a novels number of words: a novel can accommodate decades and an extensive cast of characters, subplots and all the rest.
A short story must pack an emotional wallop with dramatically fewer elements.

The best short stories establish a character status quo, often only one scene that also bears the weight of what it is you're trying to say about his life before whatever happens in your story.
So here's how you can tighten your story if your main character needs a cohort or a sounding board, don't give her two combined characters where you can avoid description of settings or characters as a separate element, rather write just enough to trigger the theater of your readers.
Mind eliminate scenes that merely get your characters from one place to another.

The reader doesn't care how they got there or they can assume it.

00:05:36
So you can simply write late that afternoon.
Jim met Sharon at a coffee shop.

We don't need to see him getting ready arranging a ride at cetera.
The goal is to get to a resounding ending by portraying a poignant incident that reveals your story and its point.
The fourth step to writing a compelling short story is to employ a classic story structure.

I endorse the approach.
Dean Koontz recommends in his book how to write best-selling fiction.

00:06:05
He suggests a simple four-step approach.

First, plunge your character into terrible trouble as soon as possible.

00:06:13
Second, everything your character does to try to get out of that trouble makes it only worse until third, the predicament appears hopeless and then finally, everything your hero learns from trying to get out of the terrible trouble he uses to succeed in the end now, of course, Terrible trouble means something different depending on your genre, in a thriller, it might be life or death.
In our love story, the trouble might be emotional regardless it should be the worst trouble you can conjure for your character.

Then it's crucial to avoid wasting precious reading real estate, setting up your plot or providing a lot of backstory, give your readers just enough to make them care about your main character, then get to the problem.
The quest the challenge, the danger, whatever it is, that drives your story, I'll write, the fifth step to writing a compelling short story is to offer a satisfying ending.
It can't seem forced or contrived or give the impression the story has ended too soon.


00:07:21
Here's an example of a great short story ending in a modern-day version of the prodigal son called the ride.
A character, calls his father and leaves a message that, if he's welcome to return home, his father should leave the front porch light on.
Otherwise, if he finds the porch light off he'll understand and tell his cab driver to just keep going the rest of the story, is him telling the cabbie how deeply his life choices have hurt his family? The story ends with the taxi pulling into view of his child at home only to find not only the porch light on, but also every light in the house and more out in the yard on long extension cords that ending needed no elaboration, we didn't even need To be shown, the reunion, the embrace, the tears, the talk, the lights said it all, that's the kind of ending you want.


00:08:11
You may have heard me say this before, but readers enjoy being educated and entertained, but they never forget being emotionally moved.
The sixth and final step to writing a compelling short story is to edit it as if your life depends on it when you've finished the writing.
The real work has just begun.

It's time to become a ferocious self editor put on your perfectionist cabin, examine and revise every element of your story.

00:08:36
Spelling grammar, punctuation sentence.
Construction word: choice, flow, cliches, redundancies, you name, it tightening adds power omit needless words also pour over the manuscript looking for ways to engage your readers senses and evoke their emotions.

All writing is rewriting.
Do whatever you have to do to give yourself the best chance to succeed and remember what makes you a writer is learning when you've gone from making your story better to making it only different strive to recognize when you've hit on the best version.
All right.

That's it for today, if you found this video helpful like it comment on it and share it, you can also click the subscribe button below to be notified.

00:09:22
Whenever I release a new writer training video now here's that free bonus - I mentioned earlier click on the link on your screen to get my guide how to maximize your writing time.
This will help you overcome writer's block and eliminate distractions.

So you cannot only start.
Your short story, but also stay motivated to stick with it until it's finished and as good as it can be all the best.
With your writing and I'll see you next time.


00:09:49
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