We’ve been doing a lot of work on what makes a satisfying short story at the writing group, and here’s an easily digested summary of what we’ve discussed.
A memorable short story will say something about the human condition, encapsulating one idea succinctly, with each scene building towards a crisis point, followed by a point of realisation or moment of clarity. The issue you address at the start of the story should be the issue that is resolved at the end.
A good short story starts in the middle of the action and as close to the climax as possible. At the end of the story, the main character should be in a better place than at the beginning, enabling them to move forward.
I had intended to use the time off work to get some serious writing done – I don’t often have the opportunity of a full week to clear my mind of all household- and work-related matters. Pity it didn’t quite work out like that.
Day 1 – coincidentally the first day of an unpredicted Indian summer. Late sunshine too warm to resist. We packed sunscreen (yes, sunscreen, in Norfolk, in September. It beggars belief.), books and a picnic and headed for the coast. Kids are back at school now and the beaches round here, never very densely populated, are deserted.