But simply listing the emotions you experienced (“It was exciting” “I’ve never been so scared in all my life” “I miss her so much”) is not the same thing as generating emotions for your readers to experience. Read Raymond Carver, Earnest Hemingway, Alice Munro, and Tobias Wolff.
For those of you who are looking for more long-term writing strategies, here are some additional ideas. If you don’t have time to read all of these authors, stick to Chekhov.
She eats pizza every day for lunch and loves Red Rose tea. As a writer, you need to determine who is going to tell the story and how much information is available for the narrator to reveal in the short story.
The narrator can be directly involved in the action subjectively, or the narrator might only report the action objectively.
Write Meaningful Dialogue Labels“John asked nervously” is an example of “telling.” The author could write “John asked very nervously” or “John asked so nervously that his voice was shaking,” and it still wouldn’t make the story any more effective.
How can the author convey John’s state of mind, without coming right out and telling the reader about it? That is, mention a detail that conjures up in the reader’s mind the image of a nervous person.
“To the racetrack.” Mary edged toward the door, keeping her eyes on John’s bent head. “We are already maxed out on our credit cards.” “Where are you going? “To the racetrack,” Mary said, trying to figure out whether John was too upset to let her get away with it this time.
“Not again,” said John, wondering how they would make that month’s rent.
Dialogue is what your characters say to each other (or to themselves).
Each speaker gets his/her own paragraph, and the paragraph includes whatever you wish to say about what the character is doing when speaking.