Writing the Perfect Short Story

Writer, blogger, and attorney Lasesana recently featured Uruguayan  author Horacio Quiroga’s Ten Rules for Writing a Perfect Story. As Lasesana said, the first few are very general, so I have selected the latter part of the list to reproduce here. The rules have been translated from Spanish:
horacio quiroga

  • Have blind faith in your capacity to succeed, or in your desire to achieve success.  Love your art like your girlfriend, giving it all your heart.

  • Don’t begin to write without knowing where you are going from the first word.  In a good short story, the first three lines are almost as important as the last three.

  • If you want to express “a cold wind blew from the river,” write just that.  Once you have mastered the use of words, don’t worry whether they are consonant or assonant.

  • Don’t add unnecessary adjectives.  Colorful words attached to a weak noun will be useless.  The correct noun will have incomparable color and brightness.  The trick is finding it.

  • Take your characters by the hand and lead them firmly to the end, ignoring everything but the way you have plotted.  Don’t get distracted by seeing things that they cannot and care not to see.  Don’t abuse your reader.  A short story is not a miniature novel.  Hold this as an absolute truth, even though it isn’t.

  • Do not write from under the power of your emotions.  Let the feeling die and evoke it later.  If you are able to conjure up the feeling again, you are halfway to mastering your art.

  • Don’t think about your friends when you write or on the effect that your story may have.  Tell your story as if it only mattered to the confined world of your characters, of which you may be a part.  This is the only way to give your story life.

from http://lasesana.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/horacio-quirogas-ten-rules-for-writing-a-perfect-short-story/

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