Earlier this year we asked a selection of insiders to offer their advice, tips and insights based on their various experiences in their chosen creative field. Here writer Danielle McLaughlin shares her thoughts on How To Write A Short Story.
Read, read, read – as wide a range of short stories as you can get your hands on.
How a story is told can often be as important as what the story is about, so read stories in lots of different styles by lots of different writers.
A turning point for me was signing up for writing workshops at the Munster Literature Centre. That was where I met the writers who would become my writing group. Almost ten years on, we still meet regularly to share our work and offer honest, kind feedback.
Choose specifics over generalities.
Trust the reader.
Give yourself permission to write rubbish: early drafts are always awful. Later drafts are often awful too.
I think it was Kevin Barry who said, “It’s always shit, until it isn’t.”
I wrote those words on a sheet of paper and stuck them above my desk!
Words: Danielle McLaughlin
Winner of the 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award