Archive for the ‘Tips for Beginners’ Category

Guest Post: 60 Rules for Short SF (and Fantasy)

A “mainstream” short story can be about anything: a mood, a character, a setting, even a flashy writing style. A genre (SF or fantasy) short story is about an idea. The fictional elements (character, plot, setting, etc) are only there to dramatize the idea. Here are the rules for the SF (or Fantasy) short story.

Key Conditions for Suspense:
Part 25 – Patterns for Struggle Elements 5 & 6

The stories that use insight and decision are usually those where the main obstacle is the character’s internal problem. For example, in stories where love and friendship is on the line and the obstacle is the main character’s values, it may be that the hero has to make a decision to place love above something else.

Key Conditions for Suspense:
Part 21 – Patterns for Presenting the Problem: Elements 4-5

If the main character is sympathetic and interesting, the reader will root for her and want to see what happens. If some of the particularities of the character and problem are surprising to the readers, it will generate more interest than if it’s something they’ve seen many times before.