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Writing and Editing Better Short Stories

Updated on July 19, 2011
Don't be crabby-just write something.
Don't be crabby-just write something. | Source
Does this picture inspire you to write a story? Or is it too vague or too boring?
Does this picture inspire you to write a story? Or is it too vague or too boring? | Source

Hubbers like to Write Better Hubs

Many people write interesting, inspiring stories on hubpages. Most of us want to write better and better hubs.

I have written this hub to summarise helpful methods I have learned. I use the following process when I write and edit.

My first draft is often not brilliant, however as I work on the stories and get feed back, my stories get better. Luckily I have some good friends who help me by reading my stories and giving me helpful criticism and suggestions. If any hubbers wish to give me suggestions to improve any of my hubs I would be very appreciative.

How to get started...and what's next?

Write the first Draft:
First think of an event or story and quickly write down all the events and characters you can think of. Just get it all down. You will alter and delete and edit later.

I use a school notebook for all my writing because if I write on little bits of paper I lose them. I write in pencil on one side of the pages and double space it. I always have a good eraser.
This way I can insert new sentences and words, cross out parts and erase easily.
You will add as ideas come to you. If you have extra ideas and don't know where to put them just write them at the bottom of the page or on the blank side. or else you can start right in using word program on your laptop or whatever technical gadget you love best.

Once the story is written read it with a critical eye. Did you do the following?

1) Tell a story you know well-a dramatic incident.
2) Make sure your story has a clear intent,purpose.
3) Give your story a lively beginning located in time and place(ie-we were lost on a cliff in a blizzard).
4) A story needs rising tension (as my fingers lost sensation a grizzley attacked us)
5) Have some interesting characters animals whatever (It was an old female grizzly with a Scottish accent)
6) Include mainly events that push the story along (She tasted my foot but spat it out)
7) Lead up to a climax (I told her to get lost).
8) End with a summation,denouement (and then we all went home for beer and chips).This is the classic story arc.

Include dialogue, images or metaphores,vivid visual details that are relevant to the mood,intent of the story.
Then read it out loud and change words,phrases, so the writing flows.

Then use the spell check to make sure you do not have any spelling mistakes. The spellcheck is up in the toolbar it says ABC over a blue check.

Find Someone to Critic your story:
After your first drafts you need to get an outside opinion to tell you how to make it better,what to cut and what to change.
When someone agrees to read your story and give you feedback, ask:

1) What should be expanded? What would you like more of?
2) What should be deleted because for example it is repetitive or belongs in another story.
3) What works?
4) What doesn't work or is confusing?
If you are not sure about the accuracy of the first critic's response, ask someone else. And if it is still not clear ask someone else. My first stories were edited based on several people's opinions.
Almost anyone who likes reading can tell you what works if you ask the right questions-based 1-8 above.

If you are criticizing someone's writing:

1) It is vital that you tell the positives first. Be kind, say what you liked or learned from the story. You don't want to discourage a writer from writing.

2) If you are in a critic group everyone should contribute. If you can't think of much still make some observation so the author will not feel so rejected he or she wants to up their piece.
i.e.Say "The part about the mother's apron rang true for me." It may not be a brilliant critic but it is something. As you participate you will get better.
3) Focus on the piece of writing not on the author. Show ways to improve the piece of writing-not what you would have said or done in a similar situation. Don't rewrite it
for the author. It is not as helpful to say what you would have done if you wrote the piece.better to give suggestions on how the author could rewrite it.

If anyone wants to read any of my stories and give me some editing suggestions I would appreciate your input.

Have fun


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    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks Multiman, and best of luck selling your stories.

    • profile image

      Multiman 6 years ago

      Great hub good advice on short stories, I have written several, but the trying to market tham is a daunting task. Voted up.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your comment agusfanani.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      You've given good tips for me to write better. Thank you.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      You are most welcome kdupree. Hope all goes well with your writing.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your comment Pamela99. Hope your writing goes well.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Many Thanks for your comments Fay Paxton and Daydreamer Too. This hub contains common knowledge, but I often get lost in my writing and can wander around aimlessly if I am not kept on track by some sort of list or friendly editor reader..

    • profile image

      Daydreamer Too 6 years ago

      I found this very helpful~!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 6 years ago

      I needed this, Marsha. I have been writing and editing a short story for so long, it has become a long story and I've almost forgotten what it's about.:)


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for some great information on writing short stories. I liked the method that you describe and thinking would work well for me. Thanks again.