How to end a short story

short storyI’ve been inundated by short stories lately. For a couple of years, I haven’t written a short story. I’ve been busy with my novels. Suddenly, short stories exploded in my brain. I wrote one story about a mother in a fantasy setting and sent it to Baen Fantasy Adventure Competition. It probably won’t win anything, but I had to try. If I get a rejection, and even if I don’t (ha!) I’m thinking about publishing a fantasy anthology about mothers. I wonder if many writers find the topic as fascinating as I do. Would I get many submissions to such a call?
I also have three more ideas for short stories. One – a flash – is almost ready to be written. It’s humorous in a fantasy milieu but without most fantasy trappings. Magic is only hinted at. It’s about food.
The second idea also takes place in a fantasy setting, vaguely Britain circa 18th century, and deals with two twin sisters separated at birth and then reunited by accident. This one is not ready to write. I know how it starts and I know the middle too, and the names of the characters, but I don’t know what the heroine wants in the end. She could pursue several mutually exclusive objectives in several different ways. I’m leaning toward humorous and romantic but I haven’t determined yet. It might be a retelling of Othello. Decisions, decisions…
And then there is the third story. I also know its beginning but not where it’s going. It’s my bane: not knowing the ending. Most of my short stories start this way, and it always takes time for me and my heroes to arrive at a conclusion.
This story’s subject has been done to death already – a soul transplant between bodies. Obviously speculative fiction. A few years ago, I wrote a scifi story on this theme, but this one is going to be modern fantasy. I don’t think the twist I’m thinking about has been done before, but how the heck does this story end? Maybe I should join Wattpad and ask the readers for help?

IWSGDo you write short stories? Flash? How do they develop in your mind? Do you know the endings at once? Or do the beginnings give you trouble?

This is a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group

 

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8 Responses to How to end a short story

  1. I enjoy writing flash fiction, and usually they start out with a vague idea in the back of my mind. I typically do other things for a few hours and let this idea “cook” for a while, and then a good ending line will come to mind. Once that happens and I have my big finish, I know I’m ready to sit down and start writing…

  2. Widdershins says:

    Maybe just start and see where it ends up? 😀 Throw out the genre, the word count, how you’ve ever written anything before … see what happens.

  3. I don’t write short stories. I can’t figure out how to fit all those plot-character-crises details in ‘short’. Some people do it quite nicely.

  4. L.G. Smith says:

    I’ve been too absorbed in novel writing lately to do any short story stuff. A few flash fiction pieces related to the novel’s characters is about all I’ve managed. But it sounds like you’ve got idea coming out your ears. Good luck with the contest!

  5. All your story ideas sound wonderful–I want to read them when they’re done.

  6. elsieamata says:

    I love when an author can incorporate some kind of humor into their story. It makes for a fun read. I’m not very good at short stories. I write them either way to short or way to long! Best of luck to you!!

    Elsie

  7. melissajanda says:

    In his book Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury recommended writing short stories to get your “writing legs” and then graduate to novel writing. Of course, I read that bit of advice after writing a novel and still haven’t written any short stories, lol. If the short stories keep popping into your brain, then just go with it. Plus, some of Bradbury’s shorts turned into novels. Good luck!

  8. Olga Godim says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, folks.

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