1. Writing a Short Story—Getting Started 1

What Is a Short Story? 2

Finding a Story to Write 5

A Short Story's Basic Ingredients 10

Sitting Down to Write 12

Exercises: Generating Ideas 19

2. Characters—How to Create People

Who Live and Breathe on the Page 21

Choosing a Protagonist 22

Choosing a Point of View 23

Bringing Your Characters to Life 29

Tip Sheet: Three-Dimensional Characters 39

Character's Bio Chart 41

Giving Your Characters a Voice 42

Tip Sheet: Dialogue 49

Exercises: Creating Characters 51

3. Conflict—How to Devise a Story

That Readers Won't Want to Put Down 55

How Conflict Works in a Short Story 56

The Protagonist's Predicament 57

Bad Guys, Hurricanes, and Fatal Flaws 60

Conflict Equals Suspense 63

Exercises: Finding Story Conflict 66

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