Five Short Story Writing Tips

David Chapple shares his top five short story writing tips:

1. For me plot is usually just an excuse to push a character around. If you develop a good, three dimensional character the plot often writes itself.

2. A character doesn’t have to be sympathetic to be engaging. If they want something enough a reader will ‘care’ enough about them to engage with the story.

3. I was schooled in writing short stories that were high on technique. As I get older I find that I care less about really clever stories and prefer writing that is passionate even if it’s flawed.

4. Listen to advice but be prepared to disregard it. I often teach people the ‘rules’ as they were taught to me but I can give examples of brilliant writing that breaks all these rules and writers who seem blissfully ignorant of structure and deliver wonderful writing.

5. Buy and read short story anthologies and magazines. Not only does this arm your practice it also supports the form.

David Chapple is SAWC’s new Writing Development Manager. He has a Masters in Creative Writing, speci alising in Writing and Health and has worked as the writer in residence for a number of programs specialising in mental health, disability services as well as working as a writing teacher in prisons and schools. He will be presenting a two part workshop – Introducing Short Stories and Reading for Writers.

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