In a few weeks, I’ll be teaching, Write it Short, Write It Real, an on-line class for teens at the Loft Literary Center.
Last week, I wrote a guest post for the Loft’s blog, The Writers Block. My post was called, Seven Tips for Writing Short Narratives. These are things I’ve learned while working on my memoir in progress, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention Center Poetry Workshop. This is a story which will be told in short flash and vignettes. The form helps to mirror the intensity of running a poetry workshop with teens in detention.
Here are a few tips for writing short narrative:
1. Select an idea with a limited scope. For example, craft a story around a moment in time. Narrative flash often focuses on a moment of change, realization or final action.
2. Be sure to keep the cast of characters small. You’ll need a main character and an antagonist, but the rest can be saved for their own stories later.
3. Titles matter. Since word counts are limited, be sure to use all the words you are given, including the title. Your title can play double-duty by giving away clues to the plot, enhancing character, or establishing setting.
4. Begin your story in the middle of the action. Robert Olen Butler says in From Where Dreams Come, “All plot comes from the character’s trying to get something, to achieve something, wanting, desiring, longing.” Let the readers know what that is as early as possible.
You can read the entire post, Seven Tips for Writing Short Narrative, here.
And if you know of a teen who enjoys writing and would like an on-line class, encourage them to sign up for Write It Short, Write It Real.
There are two sessions. The spring session is here.