To help you edit and shape your short story before submitting it, we’ve compiled a selection of tips from some writers we’ve interviewed over the years. We first posted this advice back in 2016 and there’s some really useful comments on beginnings, endings, themes, creating a stand-out story, titles and that all-important fine-editing. Continue reading
Have you written a short story draft for our 2018 BSSA Award? It closes on 23rd April so there is still time to stand back and ask yourself some questions about it. We suggest you ponder this quote from an article by short story writer and novelist Tessa Hadley first published last year. Read the whole article and also search on the internet for the many other articles on the short story she has written. Her advice is invaluable.
‘Think about intensity – you only have a small amount of space, so you mustn’t waste it. You need to pick on something really burning. Even if you’re writing a simple story without any big revelations, you have to have a point. It has to mean something. It has to add up to something.
Sometimes I do read apprentice writers and I think it’s all very vivid with lovely sentences, but why are you telling it us, what are we to take away? You should be telling the story for a reason. It should reveal something to the reader, who will think, yes, that’s how things are, and it will feel like a surprise.’
Another tip from the BSSA team — don’t forget that you need a good title to help suggest what your story is about. it doesn’t have to be fancy –‘Rob Roy’ is probably the one simple title in this dated selection that has lasted the course. But your title does need to relate strongly to the story. And if it gains the interest of an initial reader you’ve made the first step towards being a winner.