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.)
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.
In this video, D.D. Johnston discusses a classroom exercise that he uses to illustrate an important difference between short stories and novels.
Many thanks to Mandy Keene who has sent us an excerpt from her novel, The Ill-Made Witch. We’ll leave this post live for a week, during which time we’ll welcome any constructive comments. At the end of the week, the author will receive a free critique from one of our writing tutors. (If you’d like to share your work for critique, please see here for all the necessary information.)
Mattie hated hospital food.
Today it was bread that was older than she was. She had no appetite, but all her movements were being watched. Everything, from the beeping of the pulse monitor to each sentence she said. But there was no point complaining to anyone. She could almost hear their replies: “Well, you landed yourself here.” More…