Working on a novel? Writing fiction stories? Studying or teaching Creative Writing? Online Writing Tips offers free advice videos for novelists, authors, and students of Creative Writing. We also offer a free writing critique service and run the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize. Our tutors are all experienced writers and university Creative Writing lecturers, so please enter your email address at the top of the sidebar to receive regular writing resources – and nothing else. Thanks for visiting! Google+

Flannery O’Connor and the magic gesture: how literary short stories work (tip 79) Reply

In our last video, we considered the similarities between short stories and jokes. We said that, just like the punchline of a joke, whatever happens at the climax of a story is unexpected, but in retrospect seems obvious and inevitable. In this video, DD Johnston develops that idea and think about what it is that happens at the climax of most successful literary short stories. (We say ‘literary’ short stories, since in other genres the endings of stories can sometimes be more about plot resolution than character transition.)

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Short stories are a joke! (tip 78) Reply

In the run up to this year’s Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Competition, we’re doing a series of posts on short fiction. Previous videos have looked at beginning a short story. Today, D.D. Johnston begins to reflect on the importance of endings, and why short stories are like jokes.

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Online Writing Tips short fiction competition 2018 2

We hope you’ve all had a happy new year and that 2018 is treating you well. 2018 could be a prosperous year, for you have the chance to win the richest literary prize currently offered anywhere on this website.

Yes, the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize is back for 2018, and the deadline has just been announced as midnight on May 31st (GMT). It’s free to enter and international entrants are welcome. There’s no theme, but to get an idea of what we’re looking for, check out the  winning story from 2016 and the winning story from 2017. In 2018, first prize will again be a sumptuous £100, with £50 for second place, and £25 for third. All the submission information is available here – good luck!


“A Temporary Matter”: Beginning a Short Story (tip 76) Reply

Following on from our last video, D.D. Johnston looks at the opening to a modern classic short story: “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri. You can read the full story here: