Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…


“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” 
― – Henry David Thoreau

once upon a time


This is the next installment of the three concurring posts, ‘5 tips’ per post to give you reminders or some tips on getting started. Anyway . . . drum roll . . . . the next 5 tips from


  @#&*Oh, and here’s a bonus tip; Don’t use the word ‘TIP’ 5 times in two sentences. I like to lead by example. 🙂

  1. Create arresting secondary characters.Give each one a unique personality, with secrets, hopes, actions, fears and quirks. Maintain a distinction between supportive characters and the protagonist.
  2. Keep it tight.A short story is a ‘slice-of-life’, not the entire pizza. It’s best to limit it to one significant character plus a few secondary characters, one physical location, and a specific, tight time-frame, like weeks, days, hours, or tauter yet, minutes.
  3. Experiment! Take risks! Short stories can be edgier, darker, or more extreme because they’re short, and readers can endure something a little more risky for a limited time.
  4. Enter contests! Make characters and stories distinctive and unforgettable. Try to surprise the readers somehow, with a unique, magnetic, even peculiar or weird character, and/or a unexpected topic or plot-twist.
  5. Start out on fire! Begin with a disturbance and tensionin the first few sentences. There’s no room in a short story for a long, twisting approach to the story problem. There’s also no room for a lengthy overview of the setting or the characters and their backstories. Jump right in with the protagonist’s life being turn topsy-turvy in some way.

Next week, the next 5 TIPS.

5 comments on “Continued — The Next 5 Tips for CREATING A CAPTIVATING SHORT STORY

  1. dianabaileyharris
    May 4, 2015

    Hi Mindy, I just wanted to let you know that I like the way your recent blog posts are listed on your home page. As a WordPress user, I found the suburbia theme & then-OMG-I found where one can select “front page displays the latest posts.”

    Wow. So then I did it. & managed to go back & update a few posts where I had not set a “featured image.” I’ll be curious to see if more viewers go to my site & spend time finding relevant posts, since I cover topics about what I’m writing as well as places I’m traveling.

    Thank you for showing me the way! Diana

    • Mindy
      May 4, 2015

      Hello Diana, so happy that helped. Your site looks great, but is there a ‘follow blog’ widget? I didn’t see one. Cheers, Mindy

      • dianabaileyharris
        June 9, 2015

        Hi Mindy,
        Sorry it,s taken me so long to respond. I think maybe one needs an upgrade plan to have that widget. It’s supposed to be at settings>read & I only have settings>write. 😦
        PS congratulations on the fiction prize.

      • Mindy
        June 10, 2015

        Oh, that’s too bad. And Thanks for the congrats. Mindy

  2. Behind the Story
    April 28, 2015

    Five pieces of good advice. Thanks, Mindy.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on April 27, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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