What do you think is most important in writing a good short story?
Stick to two, maybe three, characters at best. Have a good plot and keep it real. With a short story, you have to make sure your readers can relate to the characters, the plot and the overall circumstance surrounding the story. For example, you don't want to write about a girl and a guy meeting at a party while talking in quiet vocies. So, make sure your background is a part of what is happening in their dialogue.
I say keeping the reader wanting to know what's going to happen next and well-rounded characters to drive the story.
Because there is little time to build in a short story, the plot has to be strong and the characters have to be clearly drawn. You have little time to make us care about the protagonist and the story...so the plot has to be strong as well as the characters.
I am not sure that any one thing will be the saving grace of a good short story other this a strong story line. Even then you run the risk of not grabbing the reader's attention and holding it. A good story normally has a lot of good traits which come together harmoniously to achieve the goal you speak of. You must have a good story line that interests the reader. You must grab the reader's attention and hold it. You must pull the reader into the story and cause him/her to wander as to what happens next. You must be belieable, plausible yet imaginative and you need an ending that is not totally predictable from the first paragraph. Finally, the title needs to be strong...not a mission statement...just a strong phrase or term that grabs the reader's eye. That's my two cents. WB
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