Tag Archives: collections

The Extraordinary Art of Writing Short Stories

Tips to help you write extraordinary short stories.

I love dipping into an eclectic mix of short tales. Picking up an anthology or collection of shorts whilst waiting in the car for my kids, or reading while working out on the elliptical with my Kindle app on my phone, delights me and utilises what could be wasted time!

Books containing great short stories...

Books containing great short stories…

There’s an art to a short story, and it takes a well-practised writer to get it right. There’s nothing worse than dipping into a tale, finishing it in a few pages and having no reaction. That meh feeling just doesn’t cut it.

You need to be short, sharp, and succinct, and have enough story to make the tale worth telling.

A short story needs to tell a tale in very few words, it needs to grab you and not let you go, it needs to pull you in, swirl you about and throw you back out again! It needs to elicit a reaction. Very often that reaction will either be a smile, a laugh, or a shock, but it has to be a reaction nonetheless. It’s dreadful to read a short and feel you’re just dipping into someone’s high school level homework. Don’t make short stories ordinary, make them extraordinary!

If you’re writing romance, boy-down-the-road meets girl-up-the-road… Shake it up. Don’t give me four or five pages of boy thinking about girl, meeting unexpectedly, and falling in love right away. Shake it up, turn it around…maybe the boy is blind, maybe she walks by every day, she might like him, but not be confident enough to speak – then one day she trips and knocks into him, he recalls her scent and catches her hand… Make me breathe their attraction; make me feel their confusion and their nerves…let the story catch fire!

If the story’s been done before – and let’s face it, most have – what can you do to change it up, twist it, make it different, make it new and inspiring, turn the cliché upside-down? What’s your USP (Unique Selling Point) or as I like UTP – Unique Telling Point! What’s your style?

I honed my writing skills writing Flash Fiction and I hugely recommend it. You learn a vast amount by reading flash fiction, and then by writing it. Most Flash Fiction prompts are words, photos or music. You’re given a set of rules to follow and you create a piece within a particular number of words. It teaches brevity and that every word counts, editing skills, the importance of content, beginnings and endings, grammar, and basic story-telling to name but a few.

I’ve taken part in a variety of flash fiction, and still do. I delight in both writing to a set prompt, expanding my voices and genres, and sharing my work with those around me. My short flash fiction, shared on my blog, serves as an advert for my novels.  If you like my flash, read my books!

Take a look at these short tales on some of my favourite blogs, see how the stories work, how they elicit a reaction, and you’ll see why you need to read more from these writers! Tinker My Heart – A Jar of Fireflies, Dancing at Whitsun – Cubic Scats, Duty – One More Leaf, The Apothecary’s Art – The Last Krystallos, Uninterrupted – Jo Cannon, and At the Museum – Searching for Ingleside. (Several of these pieces are Flash Fiction contest winners)

A short story collection or being included in a compendium or anthology can be great for an author especially an indie author. It’s a way for readers to get to know your writing, your style, without needing to buy your full length novels. This is also a major reason why getting the short story right is so important. If you write shorts badly, they may never move on to your other writing. Share whatever you want on your blog for free, let readers taste your writing, but only put your best work into a collection. If you’re publishing make it worth the money your reader is spending!

Don’t write ordinary tales, make them extraordinary!

When you’re choosing a collection of tales, don’t just read the reviews, make the most of the preview of the book that Amazon allows you to see…take a look at the writing, see if it’s for you..

Cutthroats and Curses a Pirate Anthology, The Anthology Club

Cutthroats and Curses

If you want to read some amazing collections – try these, tried and tested and brilliant works, and something for everyone. And I’ll stick my neck out and say of you want to read a fantastic short pick up ‘Cutthroats and Curses’ and read Beth Avery’s ‘ Roaring Dan Seavey…’, that’s how short stories should be written!

Once Upon a Time: A Collection of Unexpected Fairytales – SJI Holliday and Anna Meade

Finding  a Voice – Jeffrey Hollar

And the Angels Cried and Other Short Stories – Annette S. Thomson

Once Upon a Time, Finding a Voice, And the Angels Cried, Through the Portal, Anna Meade, SJI Holliday, Annette S Thomson, LaDonna Cole, Read Write Muse,

Once Upon a Time, Finding a Voice, And the Angels Cried, Through the Portal

Cutthroats and Curses: An Anthology of Pirates – Michael Wombat and The Anthology Club

Through the Portal – LaDonna Cole and Read Write Muse

Tales by the Tree, In Creeps the Night, Here be Dragons, Moonbeams and Fairies, JAMes Press, Hannah Steenbock, Rebecka Vigus,

Tales by the Tree, In Creeps the Night, Here be Dragons, Moonbeams and Fairies

Tales by the Tree: A Christmas Collection – J. A. Mes Press

In Creeps the Night: 50 Flash Fiction Horror Tales – J. A. Mes Press

Here Be Dragons – Hannah Steenbock

Of Moonbeams and Fairies – Rebecka Vigus (Childrens Tales)

Darrion, Burn, Moth Girl Versus the Bats, Marissa Ames, Daniel Swensen, Michael Wombat,

Darrion, Burn, Moth Girl Versus the Bats

Darrion – Marissa Ames

Burn – Daniel Swensen

Moth Girl Versus The Bats – Michael Wombat

And if you want to try, and read, some Flash Fiction…click on the sites below or my side bar, check out my Blues Buster stories which you can find a quick link to in my Categories.

Five Sentence FictionBlues BusterVisual DareThree Line ThursdayFlash! FridayHorror Bites

So, do you love short stories? What are your favourites and what makes them special?

Are you a Flash Fictioneer? If you want to know more of my Flash Fiction beginnings read:  Being a Flash Fictioneer (like a writing Musketeer…or something similar…). What’s your favourite site for Flash?

Amaranth Alchemy: The Gift of Words

Amaranth Alchemy Winter/Spring Collection

Amaranth Alchemy Winter/Spring Collection

In a few weeks Amaranth Alchemy will have been trading for five months, we’ve had fun and unexpected success and we offer much gratitude to everyone who has supported us! It’s been a delight to share wordy and bookish crafts and rescue books at the same time.

Old, worn and torn books, destined for the county tip, have come into our lives and we’ve been able to use them to enrich and create. Another offer of thanks go to all those who own a piece of our work, especially over Christmas, we hope you love it!


Winnie the Pooh, Alice and Adventure – Amaranth Alchemy

Right now, we’re preparing for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day and Easter won’t be too far behind. February sees lovers sharing hearts and flowers, and if I have anything to do with it, chocolate too, then 15th March celebrates Mothering Sunday in the UK…in the US I am reliably informed by my ‘the bright side’ diary that May 10th is ‘Mother’s Day (not the UK)’.

We have gifts for both him and her and would love you to take a peek

Gifts for Him and Her

Gifts for Him and Her – Amaranth Alchemy


Aragorn Loved Arwen – Amaranth Alchemy

We cater for fans of all variety…so if The Lord of the Rings is your beloved’s passion, then fall in love with Arwen and Aragorn

Winnie the Pooh delights all ages, especially mothers on Mother’s Day…

Winnie the Pooh - Amaranth Alchemy

Winnie the Pooh – Amaranth Alchemy

Sun and Moon Dictionary Necklaces - Amaranth Alchemy

Sun and Moon Dictionary Necklaces – Amaranth Alchemy

You can even find something for the Game of Thrones couple – My sun and stars… and, The moon of my life…

Poetry in motion with Dictionary Scrabble tile style necklaces…choose one of our premade pendants, or contact us and see if we have your special word and tile letter. We have some very happy commission customers!

Love, Star, Elvish Runes and Raven - Amaranth Alchemy

Love, Star, Elvish Runes and Raven Dictionary Necklaces – Amaranth Alchemy

It’s also highly likely that when we reach our six month mark, we may celebrate with a giveaway…don’t miss out, like our Facebook page and you’ll be ready!

Love Dictionary Necklace - Amaranth Alchemy

Love Dictionary Necklace – Amaranth Alchemy

Valentine’s Day is on its way! But don’t forget Mother’s Day too!

Little Women Bookmarks and Quote Plaques - Amaranth Alchemy

Little Women Bookmarks and Quote Plaques – Amaranth Alchemy

*All the photographs on this post belong to Amaranth Alchemy, but feel free to share them, especially on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter etc!

Fandom Character List Prints - Amaranth Alchemy

Fandom Character List Prints – Amaranth Alchemy