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I'm think about writing a short fiction story.  (My first!)  Can any of you reccomend a few good successful short stories that I can read to give me an idea of what I need to do to succeed?  Are there any resources that you would point me to that can help me set up the plot, characters, etc.? 

Thanks!

MJ
 

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For references, nothing beats Damon Knight's "Creating Short Fiction" (which is not available for Kindle.)

For examples....

What's your genre?  I like to find a variety of current magazines and anthologies in my genre before I start writing.

For mystery and SF the Dell magazines are available in various formats (including one for Kindle) at Fictionwise.  And the "Best American" series of anthologies can be very good for getting an orientation.

I can come up with much more if you give me an idea of the flavor you want to work on.

One thing I do when I am starting a new style or writing shorts again after a layoff is start with flash fiction or even microfiction.  Do a whole bunch of them (or at least complete plot ideas for lots of them) as stretching exercises.  Write some off the cuff. Plan others out meticulously.  Finish a draft -- or several in the case of microfiction -- in each session.  A lot of what you'll produce is junk, but it's like scales - it will get you warmed up, and also give you a feel for what you can accomplish in a small space.

Camille
 

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Some favorite short stories:

Haircut by Ring Lardner
The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
Everything Beautiful Is Far Away by Richard Lange
The Naked Lady by Madison Smartt Bell
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway
Babylon Revisited by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Circle in the Forest, The Life You Save May Be Your Own and many others by Flannery O'Connor

A good template for studying short stories: Narrative Design by Madison Smart Bell
 

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2 absolute masters of short fiction are Flannery O'Connor and Kurt Vonnegut.  They are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum, too...so you're sure to be entertained.  I know I learned  TON from both while coming up in college.
 

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Dpending on your genre, I suggest going to Ralan.com or to Duotrope's Digest. Ralan.com is more strictly SF/F/H, while Duotrope covers more genres. Both are market websites. Follow links to publications and read samples. Classics are good, but it helps to know what's going on right now.

Go to Smashwords and look at free short stories that are in the genre you want to write in. You'll learn, whether or not the stories themselves are good.

Once you know your genre, start writing. Learn by doing. Finish what you start. Send the story out or upload it. Keep at it. Above all, enjoy being creative. Best of luck!
 

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airwolfe777 said:
I'm think about writing a short fiction story. (My first!) Can any of you reccomend a few good successful short stories that I can read to give me an idea of what I need to do to succeed? Are there any resources that you would point me to that can help me set up the plot, characters, etc.?

Thanks!

MJ
If you're looking to read some of the best short stories in American Literature check out the site: http://www.americanliterature.com/ They have hundreds of classic novels, and hundreds of classic short stories. I would have to say that is probably the best site for reading great short stories I've ever read. Good Luck and definitely check it out, it's worth it...
 

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airwolfe777 said:
I'm think about writing a short fiction story. (My first!) Can any of you reccomend a few good successful short stories that I can read to give me an idea of what I need to do to succeed? Are there any resources that you would point me to that can help me set up the plot, characters, etc.?

Thanks!

MJ
Ceck out my short story page. There may be some tips from the short story writers that have contributed articles.

http://declanconner.com/short-story-writing/
 

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What genre do you think your story's going to be?

That might help us steer you to some great examples in the genre, which you might find really helpful.

It can't help but read some of the masters, and even if it doesn't help it will have been worth the ride anyway. Chekhov (anything), Hemingway (check out The Killers, a model of how to tell a story through dialogue), Flannery O'Connor (A Good Man Is Hard To Find), Ray Carver (anything, for how to tell a story with terrific economy), or Joyce (The Dead is one of those stories that stay with you).

Whatever you read, worth reading it with an eye to what makes a short story not just a novel with fewer words in it.
 
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