Short Stories Aren’t Less

For a great article on the power of the short story, read Carmen DeSousa’s blog.

“Short stories are a great way to meet an author without a long commitment or a nice release when you need just a little escape before going to bed, since there’s no risk of staying up too late to finish the story, as most short stories take less than an hour to read.”

— Carmen DeSousa

Keep Your Story Fresh, Or Be Lost

[found on; by Matthew Dunn]

“Make Sure Your Story is Fresh in 5 Years Time.

If you choose to set your story at a point in history, then your book won’t age for obvious reasons. But, most thriller readers like their stories to be contemporary which on the one hand is great for writers because it doesn’t mean we have to do painful extra research on e.g. what clothes a man would have worn in 1934.

On the other hand, there are pitfalls. Your book can take over a year to be written and edited, many years to get an agent and a publishing deal, and another year or two to become a finished published novel. Want to write a spy novel featuring the rogue state of Iran? If so, you need to be confident that Iran is still a rogue state in at least 5 years’ time.

The Western world applauded the collapse of communism but I guarantee you there were a large number of spy writers who tore up their draft manuscripts in disgust when the USSR fragmented, because their stories were supposed to be contemporary yet featured the Cold War and the Soviet Union.”

For more tips on writing from Matthew Dunn, click here.

[found on]

How to Make a Who-Dun-It

[found on; by Karen Woodward]

“1. Know who your murderer is and why they did it.

– What was their goal?
– What are the stakes?
– What motivates the killer?

By the end of the story make sure you’ve answered these questions in your manuscript.

2. Leave clues

The clues “do not have to be obvious or even fully explained. You’ll want to leave some “mystery in your mystery.”

3. After you finish the first draft add in clues where needed

Price’s tip: Red herrings are much easier to add in after the book is written as long as you don’t write yourself into a corner with your characters, such as explaining everything they do and why.

4. Don’t fully explain everything

Price writes: “Let your characters retain some mystery.”

People aren’t fully explained any more than they are wholly good or bad, your characters should reflect this.

5. Your protagonist doesn’t have to know everything, at least not right away

Like you and me, it’s okay if your sleuth doesn’t have all the answers and is unsure about what happened … as long as she gets there in the end.”

[found on]