Saturday, July 13, 2024

Have You Established Your Main Character At The Start?

In the beginning of your story you have to grab your readers’ interest and sustain it till the end. Our hook is our character. Readers keep on reading to find out more about the character. To see what he’ll do in the story; how he’ll solve his problems. What his goals are and whether he’ll achieve them.

And because our character is the reason readers become hooked on our stories, establishing him at the start is a must in a short story. And it is essential to establish him at the start because we don’t have the capacity in our limited word length to introduce him at our leisure.

The bond between readers and character has to be developed almost immediately.

You might have a few characters though. How do you decide who your main character will be? A main character is one that drives the story.

Think of it this way… If we were to take him away, there will be no story because it’s his story we are telling. The story will unfold by what is happening or what has happened to him.

When you establish who your main character will be, the next thing to do is to find which of your characters is in the best position to tell the story. Will your main character tell his story or will you give that role to another character?

This is what we call Viewpoint and what we’ll see in more detail in proceeding chapters.

Your main character isn’t necessarily the one who is telling the story; he might not even appear in our story ‘physically’ but will be there through the thoughts of others. So the viewpoint character might be a secondary character.

Whoever is telling the story is the viewpoint character.

The viewpoint character gives the coloring of the story. Whatever this characters says, we will believe. It may or may not be true, according to the main character, but because he isn’t there ‘physically’ to voice his opinions, we will have to take the viewpoint character’s word for it.

In a novel you can play around with viewpoint. You can have several viewpoint characters. In a short story it works best with one.

So your main character, whether he’ll be telling his own story or someone else will be doing it for him, has to be established at the start of your story.

Having said that, let’s see the reasons why the main character may not be telling his own story...

• Perhaps our main character is one that readers won’t sympathize or empathize with.

• Or the main character will not view highly with our readers

• Or the viewpoint character knows all the facts and can tell the story better

• Etc.

Let me give you an example of a secondary character telling the story of a main character…

Let’s say your secondary character is a psychiatrist and the main character is the patient. Depending on what’s going to go on in the story, we’ll have to choose who’s in a better position to tell it. In this case, I will choose the psychiatrist.

I’ve done this because the patient is confused, being the one with the problems. The psychiatrist knows all the facts and his opinions will make things clearer to readers.

So, as the secondary character (the psychiatrist) unravels the story, we’ll become involved in the main character because it’s the main character’s story that is been told.

This may get a little confusing to the beginner writer. As they write they will have to keep in mind that the secondary character, although he’s telling the story, is NOT our main character.

The secondary character is there to do perform a task. He’s only the voice. It’s the main character we’ll become involved with.

A secondary character doesn’t play such an important role as a main character does. Therefore, information about secondary characters should be kept to a minimum. It’s not his story – it’s the main character’s story and the spotlight must, most times, be kept on the main character.

Take the above example for instance. It’s no relevance to the story how the psychiatrist started his career or where he received his diploma – what’s important, is what he has to say about the main character, his patient.

Introduce your main character straight away, as close to the beginning of the story that’s possible. Enable your readers to form a bond and that will keep them hooked.

Is your main character established at the start of your story?

© Nick Vernon

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Friday, July 12, 2024

Does The Name You Chose Suit Your Character?

How do you choose a name? Do you put down the first name that pops into your mind? Initially that’s what I used to do, until someone pointed out to me that there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a name…

1. You Have To Be Comfortable With It

We associate names with people we know. If you like a certain name but know and dislike a person who bears it, will you feel comfortable using that name in your story?

Will you mentally shut that person out or will you be reminded of them each time you type that name?

Our characters have to be likable to us before they can become likeable to our readers. Will your dislike for that person transfer to your character?

2. It Must Be Easy To Pronounce

The English language can be, at times, misleading. How many words, and even names we spell one way and pronounce another? If the name you have chosen falls into this category, will your readers know how to pronounce it?

For years I use to pronounce the beautiful name ‘Sean’ exactly how it’s written ‘Seen,’ when it’s pronounced by the much nicer sounding ‘Shorn.’ Will the name you choose bear the same problem?

If you choose a difficult pronouncing name for your character and worse, one that’s not widely known, you stand to lose the effect of that name. A beautiful sounding name can be utterly destroyed if your reader doesn’t know how to pronounce it.

Your story has to flow. If the name you’ve chosen is not easy to pronounce, the readers will constantly stop each time they come across it. This will disrupt the flow of your story.

3. Foreign Sounding Names

The same as the above applies to foreign sounding names. They must be easy to pronounce. Consider the following:





These names sound exotic but they don’t exactly roll off the tongue. Should you compromise the flow of the story for the sake of a name?

4. Does The Name Suit Your Character?

Not all names suit all people and not all names will suit all characters. Like clothing and hairstyles, names go out of fashion too.

For example...

Let’s say your heroine is a lively, upbeat, modern lady. Will it suit her type of personality if we choose the name ‘Mabel’? ‘Mabel’ we usually associate with an elderly aunt or grandmother.

What about your hero? Let’s say he’s a young man who possesses a powerful personality. Will the name ‘Hubert?’ suit him? ‘Hubert’ would suit an elderly character or perhaps a ‘quiet’ character.

5. They Shouldn’t Start With The Same Letter

If you’re going to have two main characters in your story and their names start with the same letter, it will read a little awkwardly.


  • David and Debra
  • Sam and Sue
  • George and Gina

6. Surnames

Like we carefully choose the first name for our characters, we have to be careful when selecting their surnames. Just like first names, there are certain surnames, which sound better than others.

When selecting a surname, make sure it has a pleasant ring, when used with the first name. Using names, which rhyme like, Jeff Jefferson, sound amusing. If this is the effect you wish to create then using it is fine.

7. Stereotype Names

Are you thinking of naming your character Adolph or Judas? There’s nothing wrong with these names, except for the fact that we tend to associate them with that single person in history who bore them. Will your reader trust your hero if you name him Judas?

8. Famous Names

I recall a quote I once read which went something like this…

“Nothing grows under the shade of a tree.”

If you name your character Elvis, Madonna etc.. Will your character be able to outshine the ultra famous person of whom the world knows? I doubt it.

When naming characters there are also a few other points to consider…

Naming them will not only depend on what kind of people they are, but who their parents or guardians were (if the parents or guardians play some sort of role in your story). After all, we don’t name ourselves, do we? So take into consideration the following…

1) What kind of people are the parents?

a) Free spirited?

Unusual names will rank highly amongst people like this.

For example,

  • The seasons of the year
  • Or perhaps a month in the year
  • Or an object
  • Etc

b) Conservative?

These types of people tend to use the full name rather than an abbreviated version of it.

For example,

  • Kathleen instead of Kat
  • Michael instead of Mike
  • Etc

2) What Is The Parents/Guardians Nationality?

If they’re traditional, they will choose a name, which is popular in their country. Also, traditional parents/guardians tend to give their children the names of their own parents or other relatives.

Look at the name you chose for your main characters. Does the name suit them?

© Nick Vernon

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Does Each Element of Your Story Further The Theme?

Whichever theme you choose, all the elements, which make up your story, dialogue, conflict, scenes, etc should be written with the theme in mind.

Your theme should progress the story.

If you find that anything in your story doesn’t progress it, it should be cut when you are in the editing stage.

Before we see an example of elements written with a theme in mind, let’s think of a theme and a story….

The theme is…

‘Arrogance Leads To Humiliation’

Very briefly, this story is about a character that believes he is better than his colleagues.

His goal is to get promoted to a managerial position. What will prevent him from reaching his goal, is the fact that management are aware of his arrogance and they don’t believe, with his attitude, he is the right person to manage the staff.

To meet his goal, the character will take on more work than he can handle. He will do this to prove to management, that he is the right man for the job. But in the end, he will make a grave error and his arrogance will lead him to humiliation.

Now let’s take a look at the elements of this story…


The character’s dialogue will show his arrogance, by the tone of his voice and the words he chooses to express himself.


I will show my character is arrogant by the way I describe him and from how other characters see him.


I will explain what makes him think he is better than everyone else.


I will state his goal and show how it arises from the fact that he believes himself better than everyone else.


The setting is going to be in an office environment. I can show his arrogance through the setting by perhaps describing the contents of his desk (trophies) and his desk area in general (diplomas on the walls.) etc.


The conflict will come from himself. He is the one that creates it by doing and saying things, which create dislike.


The climax is the highest point in my story where the conflict and his arrogance will come to their peak. Here we will see how he tries to overcome the conflict and reach his goal by taking on more work.


I will end my story with my character’s humiliation. He takes on more work and makes an error in judgement. Which not only prevents his promotion but also gets him fired.

My theme here would have run its course.

Does each element of your story further your theme?

© Nick Vernon

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Does Your Theme Contain Character, Conflict, Resolution?

For a theme to work and the story, which will revolve around the theme, it has to contain three things…

1. Character

2. Conflict

3. Resolution

What’s the reason for this?

If your theme doesn’t contain these three essential elements, then you won’t be writing a proper short story. It might turn out to be an essay instead.

Because without…

1) Characters

You can’t achieve emotional depth. Readers become engrossed in stories because of the characters in them. They either become the character (sympathize), or read about an interesting person (empathize).

Emotional depth is achieved when readers use their imagination and senses and/or experiences to live the story through the characters.

2) Conflict

Your story will be boring. Why? Without conflict, something to stir things up, nothing happens. And a story, in which nothing happens, is one not worth writing about.

Your characters don’t lead carefree lives. Well, not in the instance you are writing about them. In that part of their lives they are faced with a problem. They want something and can’t get it because of the conflict, which is preventing them to do so.

And it’s that conflict and the struggle the characters has to undergo that keeps us readers interested and in suspense. Will the character succeed or won’t he? And when is this all going to happen? And how is it all going to happen?

3) Resolution

Something that starts has to finish, one way or another.

Once you have created great characters, which the reader will come to care about, and you have placed them in conflict, that conflict at the end of your story has to be resolved. The characters will achieve their goals or they won’t.

That doesn’t matter.

You can end your story as you please and as it suits your story – but you have to end it. Ending the story means resolving the conflict.

Does your theme contain character, conflict, resolution?

© Nick Vernon

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

How to Write Short Stories for Small Children

Are you unsure how to write short stories for children? If so this article outlines the most important parts when writing short stories, in fact, stories in general share the same rule regardless of the age group.

Every person during his/her childhood has heard a lot of stories and fairy tales. Most of them are fictional barring a few that are based on actual events. It is not at all difficult to write short stories, all that you need is a good command over the language and a bit of creativity. Apart from these there are certain things that need to be taken care of like the beginning of the story, the ending etc.

If you want to try writing short stories for small children then here are few tips that will make your story the best.

An appealing and an interesting beginning will arouse the curiosity of the reader which will keep them glued to the story till the end. But before you start writing the first paragraph, you must decide on several story elements. Consider choosing the following before you write the first paragraph:

1. Setting (This is where the story takes place.)

2. Time (Commonly most short stories cover a day or up to a week. If your short story covers a month, you will probably need a shorter time period.)

3. Major conflict (that is the main problem that the characters will solve.)

4. Characters (it is advisable to have 2-4 characters in your story. The plot tends to get complicated if you have more than 4 characters)

5. Ending (There should be a resolution and all of the loose ends should be tied up.)

Once you have decided on the basic story elements, the next thing is to decide on the major element of the story i.e. the target audience. In the case of short stories it is the children whom we target.

After choosing the major story element you can start writing your story. If there are any conversations between the characters which are referred to as dialogues then just keep in mind that each time a different character talks, you need to indent and start a new paragraph. To come up with better dialogues it is suggested to put yourself in the shoes of the characters you are creating as this will help you come up with realistic dialogues.

Read the stories of other writers to get an idea of how to go about writing short stories. Consider reading some folklore stories, which are available on the internet.

Although you read stories of other authors it is really important to have your own style of writing. The story you write should be different from the ones you have read, in other words the story should be unique. This way you can attract more child readers and at the same time make a good name as a popular author in a short span of time.

© Scott Thomas


Monday, July 8, 2024

Write Before You Look

Are you stuck on a writing project? Or is there something you'd love to write, but you can't get up the nerve to start? In over 25 years of writing, I've found that writing happens on the page. Just start writing. You can't do anything until you begin.

Other writers make the same point. In his book *Immediate Fiction, A Complete Writing Course*, author Jerry Cleaver recommends that when you're writing, "you leap first and look later". Cleaver believes that when you're creating, you should let your imagination do the heavy lifting. Daydream. Pretend. Let your imagination lead you where it wants to go. You will write more, and reach places you can’t get to in any other way.

Writing, like any creative endeavor, requires that we use both sides of our brain, the left and the right. Our left brain is the dominant partner, and while we're awake, our left brain is active. This means that when we think: "No way, I could never write a book" or "I could never write a screenplay" we're taking the word of our left brain.

The creative impulse came from our creative right brain, but our left brain, which deals in realities, immediately said: "Whoa!

No, you've no evidence for that. Couldn’t do that --- you've never done it before. Wouldn’t work. Silly idea."

Take a moment. Think. How often have you taken the word of your left brain? Decide today, that whenever you get a creative impulse, the very impulse which gave you that idea also knows how to make it work, so all you have to do is put your body in the place where that can happen. The creative impulse comes to all creatives, so if you get an impulse to take a photograph, or paint, or cook, or sew a scarf --- follow through. For writers, the place to follow through is with a pen in hand, or in front of a computer screen.

Here's a process to use to become familiar with writing before you look. Try it. It will feel unfamiliar at first, and you'll worry about whether you're doing it "right". Be assured that as long as your body is relaxed, your left brain is (more or less) out of the way, and you're freeing your creative right brain.

=> The Write Before You Look Process

==> One: Clear your mind

From the moment you wake up in the morning, your left brain is in charge. This side of your brain does a great job of getting you where you need to be, and helps you to fit into society, but it's not creative.

To allow your right brain's creative impulses to get your attention, you need to quiet your left brain. Any repetitive task will do this. Knitting and needlework are good. So are walking and driving, and taking a shower. Listening to classical music also works.

You can't always be moving around, so it's best to learn a sit- down process. The easiest way to clear your mind is to progressively relax every part of your body. If you've ever done any stress-reduction courses, you'll know that in progressive relaxation you focus on your body from your toes to the top of your head, and gently relax all your muscles. Just take each part of your body in turn, and tell each set of muscles to relax.

When you first learn this process, it can take around ten minutes to become completely calm and relaxed. After a few weeks, you'll be able to do it in less than a minute. You can speed up the process by mentally saying "relax" to each part of your body. In time, you'll become as limp as cooked spaghetti whenever you say the magic word to yourself.

==> Two: Write down your creative impulses

When you're completely relaxed, gently focus on your breathing. You'll find that your breaths gradually deepen more and more, and that they slow right down. This is the effect you want.

When your breathing has slowed, keep focusing on your breathing, but also think about what creative work you'd like to do. What would you like to write, if you could?

Just daydream for five minutes. If a creative idea comes to you, write it down, then drift back into your daydream.

You may not get any creative ideas while you're daydreaming. They may come later as you're doing something else. This is fine. Your right brain doesn’t "think" in language. It uses feelings and emotions to communicate. Your left brain translates these right-brain impulses into words. When you first start to actively try to get creative ideas, the communication between the two sides of your brain is slow. It will become more rapid the more you practice.

==> Three: Follow through on an impulse immediately if you can

Got a creative idea? Great.

If you can, follow through on it immediately. If you can’t, write down enough of the idea so that you can recall it easily later in

the day. Vital: also write down any images which are floating through your mind. What mental pictures do you see? These are additional parts of the creative impulse that your left brain hasn't yet translated into words. Capture them now by writing them down.

Some writers find that they can immediately write an entire 2000 word article, or a chapter of a book after they clear their mind.

This process is very powerful.

==> Four: Drop judgments --- enjoy making a mess

You've followed through, and you're writing. However, it’s messy.

It doesn’t completely make sense.

Excellent!! This is exactly what you want. It's your guarantee that the idea you're developing is original. All creation starts with a mess.

Work on the project again tomorrow. Keep working. Chances are that you're making a creative breakthrough. Remember it's your left brain that's making these early judgments. You can safely ignore them.

==> Five: Never assume that you "know" anything

You've cleared your mind, and when you read through your creative ideas later you get scared to death. You can't do this. You can't write a complete book, or submit your article proposal to Redbook. And you surely can’t dig that manuscript out of your bottom drawer and whip it in shape to send to a publisher.

Of course you can. Remember, your left brain is NOT creative.

Clearing your mind so that you can let your creative right brain work will convince you that you DO have lots of creative ideas.

Unfortunately, your left brain doesn’t trust them. That's OK. Remember that the part of your brain that's belittling all your ideas is your left brain.

Ignore it. Trust your creative impulses and follow through. Clear your mind first, to muffle your left brain. Then let your right brain do the creative work.

Write before you look. That's the entire process. Try it. You'll amaze yourself.

Remember: the creative impulse that gave you the idea, also knows how to carry out the idea. So if you've got an impulse to write a book, write it. You already have everything you need to do it.

© Angela Booth

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Sunday, July 7, 2024

How to Achieve Writing Success

Here's the cute lie that most people believe: Writing is more than a skill, a pastime or a way of making a living. It is a vocation - like being a nurse or missionary. In order to commit yourself, and impress those that would read your work, you have to want to do it for nothing. Indeed this is how many of us become writers - it's something we feel compelled to do, whether asked to, required to or not!

Certainly, I've noticed that when you first start dealing with publishers, your enthusiasm, commitment and talent are of primary concern. Any talk of money too early in the process will see you ostracized very quickly. You're supposed to want to write for yourself - for Art's sake - first.

I guess it's about trust. The people that would help us get our work seen - in other words, published - need to be sure that our motives are sincere. That we write for some purpose other than just to make money.


Robyn and I have discussed this aspect of the writer's dilemma many times - and we have a counter argument.

Writing is time consuming, hard work sometimes and almost impossible to sustain a good living at for most writers - 80% make less than $10,000 a year according to the last survey I read.

It's clear that if writers don't get paid, they can't continue writing - at least not without considering poverty as a career choice.

Given the vast millions that publishers make, I've always thought that they should pay new writers to submit work - but of course that's never going to happen! There's simply too many would be writers who are willing to chance it based on nothing more than a vague possibility of success.

But This is To Your Advantage

Because for every one hundred writers that try and fail - either through discouragement, the apathy of publishers, or the sheer force of having to pay the rent - there's one, like you, that ain't givin' up!

But how do you sustain the momentum - the will and the courage to continue?

Easy. Get obsessed. Dream about your writing success. Fantasize about it every moment of every day. Create a compulsion within yourself that cannot be undermined.

Be insane. Be illogical. Be unrealistic!


Over the years I've noticed something very telling. The writers with the most talent don't always rise to the top. But the writers who don't stop and won't take no for an answer, and just keep going regardless of criticism and bad experiences, are the ones that make it - every time.

Reflection Strengthens Determination

Actively thinking about your writing is not just about trying to improve or responding positively to feedback, it's about organizing your thoughts and reactions to to what people say about your writing. You can take criticism well or badly. It can fire you up or destroy you. It's your choice.

I used to think I wasn't good enough to be a professional writer - and my lack of success reinforced that view.

But I had it all wrong. What I failed to understand at the time was that, if you just keep going, respond to feedback and keep plugging away at new projects, you become good enough over time.

Your technique may improve. You may begin to write more effectively or tell better stories. But none of that matters if you don't have the single minded drive to overcome the apparent obstacles to your success.

It's too easy to get discouraged. The system is designed for that to happen - to weed out those that are not determined.

Take heart, if you are fully committed, there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome, there are no barriers - real or imagined - that you cannot triumph over.

In the words of a very old cliche - and things become cliches, remember, usually because they're true:

"There is nothing you can't do once you set your mind to it."

So, go for it!

© Rob Parnell

Writing Academy

Friday, July 5, 2024

Can Your Theme Be Proved In Your Story?

 Your theme has to be something you can prove in your story - It doesn’t have to be a universal truth. This means that your theme doesn’t have to be something that happens in real life all the time (providing our logic can accept it, in order for us to believe it).Whatever story you choose to write, be it a contemporary or a story which requires elements of fantasy such as in horror, science fiction etc… the events of that story have to appear logical.

What is not logical and consequently not believable is…

A character that has no knowledge of computers and overnight becomes a computer whiz

A car that goes over a cliff, bursts into flames and the character manages to escape unscratched...


These are not believable because they can’t and don’t happen in real life and our logic doesn’t accept them.

Your theme will be believed when you prove it (providing of course you can.) Let’s see how you can do that.

We’ll start with a theme…

“Hard work leads to success.’

Our story is about a character whose goal is to reach a managerial position within the company that he works. For the reader to see how the character will reach his goal I will show him…

* Working hard

* Working long hours

* Using his initiative

* Being responsible

And all those qualities, in the end, will secure him the promotion he has been aiming for.

So my theme here will be proved that ‘Hard work leads to success’ because my character succeeds in the end.

From the examples I have given so far, you may have noticed that my stories end on a happy note. Yours don’t have to. The ending will depend on the story you are writing and how you, the writer, prefers to end it.

I could have done the reverse with this theme. I could have said,

“Hard work doesn’t lead to success.”

My story will be the same but in the end I will have the character missing out on the promotion. Both themes will be proved because I have proved them in my story.

Any theme can work in a story providing you can prove it.

Have you proved your theme?

© Nick Vernon

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Research & Writing

Research is good - even for fiction. These days it's often important to put your story in the real world, where real things happen in real locations.

Readers can be fussy.

They'll go along with your story about a werewolf who falls in love with an advertising executive and whisks her off to a fairy castle in Patagonia - but if you screw up the bus timetable or mention plants that don't grow where you say they do, your dear readers will be all over you like a rash.

Or like white on rice, as an old producer friend used to say!

There's a fine line between veracity and invention.

The thing is that if you get your real world facts right, you make your fiction more believable - this is something that modern thriller writers like James Patterson, Kathy Reichs and Lee Child know all too well.

And not just facts about cities and roads - but also institutions and organizational structures like the CIA, FBI and police jurisdictions can become important and crucial to your plotting.

This is why you'll often need to research these things prior to building your novel template.

The last thing you want is for a smart reader to question your logic or your version of reality.

Even when school breaks happen can be significant to teenage novels where much of the action may take place between study periods and during semesters.

Plus, things like the weather can help you.

In the book version of Twilight, the fact that the town of Forks is almost permanently overcast is fundamental to the credibility of vampires being around in the daytime.

Conrad, Dickens and Austen used the weather often to set the mood of their set pieces - which is why they wrote about places they knew or had visited.

Research is important, yes, but it can also be a delaying tactic if you don't know when to stop doing it.

Long time ago I wrote a supernatural fantasy set in modern day London that had references to the Great Plague of 1665 and to the famous character of Thomas More.

You guessed it.

I spent literally months of valuable writing time boning up on the plague and the life of Thomas More.

I had stacks of notes and became really well informed about a subject that was probably only relevant to about one percent of my plot.

Though the information was useful, it stopped the writing of the book in its tracks.

Not good.

Especially when a year passed and I'd lost the thread of the novel and basically had to start again.

Also, interestingly, I discovered during my research that Thomas More used to torture people in the basement of his house - admittedly on rare occasions.

Apparently this was some kind of sport the rich and powerful indulged in during those dark (Tudor) times, even when they claimed to be pious and God-fearing.

Of course I included this fact in my novel - and have since been accused of making it up!

The moral being: too much research can be dangerous.

Research is about balancing facts with veracity.

Fiction must be believable first, accurate second.

No amount of accuracy will help a dull story.

But veracity can propel a story into a something more, even if not all the facts are true - just ask Dan Brown, whose Da Vinci Code has been savagely attacked over the years for its bending of the truth!

Far be it from us mere writers to have to remind people it was always meant to be fiction...

Anyway, the trick is to allot time to research - give yourself a time limit, beyond which you will not continue.

If that doesn't work for you then do what I do these days.

Write first, then do the research after.

In order for this to work well you need to keep abreast of your general knowledge - and stay interested in the topics you write around.

Use your spare time to research - and don't let it encroach on your writing time.

That's way too precious to waste!

Keep Writing.

© Rob Parnell

Writing Academy

How are you Plotting?

 Writing is a creative process and how every writer chooses to create, is individual to them. Likewise, with plotting, every writer plots at a level they are comfortable with. Some just plot the bare essentials. They have a firm idea of the story they want to write and have a good memory to be able to memorize everything.

Others go into more detail. These writers prefer to figure everything out before they write the story.

How you plot will also depend on your level of experience. For the beginner, it’s recommended to plot thoroughly.

Before writing, think of every possible situation. Plot events thoroughly, plot scenes to the last detail and generally leave no questions unasked or unanswered. This way you will always know where you’re going.

Are You Using The ‘What If’ Technique When Plotting?

Your short story of 500, 2.000, 10.000 words or whatever word length you choose to write, will spring from a single idea - Perhaps a one-sentence idea.

So when you are still in that one sentence stage, using the ‘What If,’ technique is a good way of generating ideas to build on that initial story idea.

While you are in the plotting stage, experiment. Your aim should be to write the best story you can. Experiment to see what bits and pieces you can put together to write the best story ever.

  • So using ‘What If,’ ask yourself questions then answer them…
  • What if the character was like this?
  • What if this happened to him?
  • What if I placed him in this situation? How would he react?
  • What if I took this away from him?
  • What if his worst fear came true?
  • What if he doesn’t get what he wants? What will he do?
  • What if I placed this obstacle in his path? What will he do?

You’ll be surprised what you come up with, if you take the time to experiment.

© Nick Vernon

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Have You Tested Your Plot?

 Our plotting stage is our testing area.

Everything in the plot should be tested for its effectiveness before we put in into our stories. If you believe something in your plot could be better, make it better.

Figuring everything out in your plot will save you time rewriting later.

So how do you test your plot?

Start with everything that has gone into it.

For example...

  • Are the events interesting?
  • Does your plot contain problems for the character to solve?
  • Have you given your character a goal?
  • Is the conflict strong?
  • Is the resolution of the conflict interesting?
  • Is the character interesting?
  • Is the setting of the story interesting?
  • Will the incident or situation be interesting to your readers?
  • Etc

Make a list of what your plot contains. Comb through it carefully and tick off each item. If you find that some things need to be worked on some more, work on them.

I know to some this might be tedious work, but…

Every one-minute you spend in planning will save you at least three minutes in execution.” Crawford Greenwald

© Nick Vernon

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

Tuesday, July 2, 2024


03/07/2024 Update: Email is now working correctly.

Please use the Form to send entries - for everything else use:


Seems there is a problem with the email

Until I am back from my break, please use if you want to subscribe to the newsletter.

Entries are coming in without an issue.

Massive shoutout to Vivienne for letting me know!

I'm back Wednesday evening and I will sort it out so it works! Currently gallivanting around a rather wet Liverpool!

Helpful Tips on Writing Short Stories

 When it comes to writing everybody is different. Personally, before I had been given an opportunity to write a short story, or even had any desire to write one, had anyone asked me what my perception was of this type of writing, I would respond that I thought it was probably quite easy - that it was certainly an easier mode of writing to pursue. But in a couple years that changed and I now find myself eating my words. Having initially tried and failed to write a number of short stories, I then found myself attending various workshops and reading tips online to try to understand why I was failing so miserably at grasping this art. And so, through a lot of study and practice I slowly learnt that there is indeed a large amount of skill required when it comes to this genre of writing, and that patience with both the story and the pace at which the story is born are crucial to your success.

There are lots of reasons why short stories are hard to write:

Thinking it is easy- There is often an under-estimation of just how hard short stories are to write. Because of that most individuals approach it as an easy task and leads them to take on this art under-prepared. Just because it is a short story and not a novel does not mean it is an easier; in fact some might find writing short stories a harder task.

Lack of preparation- Writing well is an art; it requires study and practice. Many people find it difficult to write a short story because they haven't spent sufficient time reading short works by other writers, or looking into the skills and techniques needed to grasp the crucial techniques. It just like doing a research paper in college, you aren’t going to start writing without any knowledge about your subject. If you are serious about writing then you need to spend time researching the art of writing before you dive headfirst into the action.

Jump into Action- Short stories are by default...short!! This means that you are limited in the number of words that you have available for setting the scene at the beginning of the piece, and so you must be brave and leap right into the action. For writers who are used to writing longer novellas or novels, this can be challenging. It takes some practice to condense your writing and clearly get the message across.

Use of Diction- Some short stories don't use any diction, but rely solely on the narrator to guide the reader through the story. Others use diction as the focus of the text, and this helps set the pace, action and tone of the piece. But with only a few hundred or thousand words at your disposal, the use of diction must to be perfect if it is going to work as the driving force throughout the story.

Use of Language- If you are writing a story that does not use diction as the driving force then you need to rely on descriptive language. But as with diction, the use of words and thus the use of time are limited significantly in a short story. Often individuals find it very difficult to write a short piece because they find it very hard to make every word of language count.

In conclusion this form of writing is not as simple as you may think but don’t give up hope. It is going to take research and practice but if you have a true love for writing then the outcome will be worth it.

© Heather Kraus

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from 

Monday, July 1, 2024

Is Your Title Compelling?

 Your title is your selling tool. 

It’s the first thing readers will scan and contemplate whether to read your story. What your title's job is, it has to lure the readers into your story – it has to be so compelling that they won’t even have a chance to ask themselves, ‘Will this story interest me?’

Their eyes will glide over the title and into the story before they realize it. The action will be instant.

What’s a compelling title? It’s one that instantly grabs our attention because it’s…

  • Intriguing
  • Interesting
  • Catchy
  • Provocative
  • Amusing

Your title may not be all these things but it will have to be at least one. There should be something about it that grabs your readers.

So how do you write compelling titles?

Start by learning from the masters.

Learn from those whose articles and stories are published in newspapers, magazines and, in particular, pay close attention how the writers of Readers Digest go about it. They have been luring readers into their written material for years. They know their stuff.

Here are a few examples of titles taken from Readers Digest….

• Did I really need to know that?

• Who is Jack Kevorkian, Really?

• Against the flames

• Who Killed Margaret Wilson?

Do you have any newspapers or magazines handy, or even better, a Readers Digest magazine? If you do, note down a few titles, then analyze why those particular titles grabbed you.

If you don’t have any magazines handy, take a look at: (in the books section.) See what titles are listed there. Or look at your bookshelf.

Compare them to your title.

Is your title compelling?

If you find that it could be better, here’s an effective way that will ensure you find the best title for your story…

Read through your story and on a piece of paper jot down sentences and/or words that appealed to you as you read. Jot down as many as you come across – Don’t worry about editing them for now. Just note down all that grabbed you.

Then look at your characters. Is there something special about them, a word you could use in a title that will grab readers’ attention?

Now with the list you have gathered, think about what you are saying in your story. Start crossing out the words and sentences that aren’t directly relevant to it.

Select a few words and look through a thesaurus for a nicer sounding synonym.

Choose the most appropriate group of words for the title.

Remember… your title has to be one or a combination of the below…

  • Intriguing
  • Interesting
  • Catchy
  • Provocative
  • Amusing

© Nick Vernon

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

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