Short Story Checklist Jul 29, 2006 16:32:38 GMT -6
Post by Joxcenia on Jul 29, 2006 16:32:38 GMT -6
Short Story Checklist
If you follow these guidelines,
your short fiction will be better received by editors.
01. Is there an opening hook that grabs the reader? Does it surprise/amuse/intrigue? Does it establish the mood of the story?
02. Are the characters interesting to read about? Are their interactions with each other believable? Are they properly motivated? Do they each have flaws as well as virtues? (Or vice-versa in Horror stories.)
03. Does each character have his or her own voice? Is dialogue flowing and natural, not stilted? Does the dialogue move the story along?
04. Are secondary characters, if any, vivid without overwhelming the main characters? Do they serve a useful purpose in the plot? Do they add interesting elements to the story?
05. Does the narrative show action, not just tell about it? Do descriptive passages evoke vivid mental images? Is the balance between narrative and dialogue appropriate for this work?
06. Is the emotional situation and/or appropriate level of tension set up between the characters? Is the conflict clearly presented?
07. Is the story paced so it holds the reader’s attention? Are transitions smooth? (Does the action proceed logically?) Are flashback scenes and background information worked into the plot appropriately for fiction of this length?
08. Are facts, figures, locales believable and/or correct? Are the language, actions, and attire of the characters appropriate for the time period and setting of the story?
09. Is the writing fresh, free of clichés? Does it show the author’s own unique style? Are viewpoint changes clear and well handled?
10. Is the grammar correct? Is the spelling accurate? Is the manuscript professionally prepared in a 12 point easy-to-read font? Is your name, address, telephone number included on the first page and last name/page number on subsequent pages? If you've proofread your work and think it's perfect, it probably isn't. Have another pair of eyes proofread your work before submitting it to editors. Remember to include your SASE with every submission.
11. Keep in mind that good fiction reveals rather than explains. Your goal in each piece of fiction is to provide your reader with actual experience, not merely with concepts and outlines of events. Reveal your characters primarily through their actions, not by telling your reader about them.
12. Read each of your drafts carefully, aloud. If you can’t experience a scene as if you were living through it yourself, work on it some more.
13. Your ending must leave your readers satisfied—even if it is unhappy, unexpected, or inconclusive. Above all, your readers must feel the piece was worth their time and attention. Pay special attention to your final sentence, image, and/or line of dialogue, because your readers certainly will.
14. Keep your short fiction short. Remember that stories over 4,000 words are very difficult to place.
15. Check reading dates before submitting your work. Send your work to editors only when they are open to reading.