How to Write a Short Story

by Arnold Nelson

I was asked recently to write an article on how I write stories. The first article explains where my ideas come from.

Now you have an idea for a story you want to write. How do you get the idea from your head onto the computer. This is the way I work. First I come up with an idea then I let it rumble around my head for a while. Sometimes I decide ideas are not good enough and I forget them. Sometimes I keep the ideas rumbling around my head for weeks. Finally I decide I'm ready and I sit down at my computer and I start writing.

First off I like to use Open Office for writing all my stores. I'm not very good at using the graphics yet but the stories come out real nice on Open Office. I also like to use a program called Dragon Speak. That way I just talk into a microphone and it prints everything I say. You have to be careful with Dragon Speak because sometimes it will print a word that sounds like the word you mean but it isn't , other times it will put three or four words together in one big mess. All in all Dragon Speak is a good program. You just have to keep going back and correcting until you have what you want on the computer screen. Dragon Speak also has a program where it will read your story back to you. This is great for finding out where you need commas or periods or any other punctuation. It also help you find all the mistakes.

Now that you are ready to write just start talking and your words will appear on the page. Make sure anything you print is the truth, if you are not sure of your information it is easy to get on the Internet and check it. When I was growing up all we had were encyclopedias. Encyclopedias were good but they only had a limited amount of information and unless you had the newest copies some of the information was outdated. Now we have the Internet and unlimited amount of information and it is being updated all the time.

If you decide to use a quote from someone, or hymn or song make sure you give credit to the right people somewhere in your story. If you don't you could be in a lot of trouble later on.

If you use real people in your stories make sure you have their permission before you publish your stories. If you don't get their permission you could have some serious problems later on.

In short stories you don't have a lot of room for descriptions so you have to keep your descriptions short and to the point, otherwise your stores would be too long and you would lose readers.

When you start writing a story you have to catch the reader's interest with the first two or three lines, if you don't you will lose your readers very fast. You have to make these first lines so good that the reader wants to read the rest of it to find out what else you are saying.

When I write fiction I always try to include some facts into it. I think it makes the story more interesting. Especially if the facts are facts that are not well known. Like one time I was writing about Hoover dam and I found out that the workers down below were always have an stuff falling on their heads so they took their soft hats and covered them with tar. These were the first hard hats. I included this in my story I think it makes the story more interesting that way. I am always trying to teach my readers something and to help them out. If one of my stories ever help somebody that would make me very happy. That to me is more important than money. Money has never been a motivating factor for me. I've never had a lot of money but I have had enough to survive. I am a Christian and I know God will take care of me, he has taken care of me for 63 years and will continue to take care of me until he calls me home.

When you are done writing your story is a good idea to let your stories sit for at least 24 hours and then go back over it and make any necessary corrections. If there is someone else that can read your stories, that is also a good idea also, because they can find things you've missed. People don't like reading stories with misspelled words, or missing punctuations, or sentences that don't make sense. So before you publish a story make it as error-free as possible.

When you publish your story on the Internet always go back over your story and make sure it is right. Regardless of what you may think computer programs do make mistakes I had some of my stories with missing parts, other stores that came out in one or two big paragraphs. So always go back and check your story and make sure it is right and make sure you make any corrections that are necessary.

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