“Developing Ideas for Short Fiction” and “Conflict vs. Crisis” are excellent resources for preparing to write a short story. They both address common writing and brainstorming mistakes and provide great advice for plot ideas, character development and conflict.
The information on brainstorming was most helpful to me as I prepared a short story submission for EL 150. As I wrote, I struggled with the word limit. I especially needed the following advice:
“Once you’ve got the basic situation, work on embellishing it.”
Dr. Jerz’s example that began with “a cop in love” was very useful. I utilized the tier-like brainstorming method to ensure that my story did not become too embellished or detailed for the word limit. With only 1,000 words to tell a story, I couldn’t manage that fourth tier of detailed plot. A more skillful writer might be able to supply the depth and detail of such a story beneath the word limit, but a novice writer isn’t as adept at being succinct and illustratively brief.
via More Story Tips.