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30 Apr How to Write a Short Story



Fiction writer and professor John Dufresne offers some tips on how to get started writing a short story and how to know when you’re on the right track. Dufresne was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012 for his creative work, with includes four novels and the short story collections “The Way That Water Enters Stone” and “Johnny Too Bad.” He has also written two books on the craft of fiction writing: “The Lie That Tells a Truth: a Guide to Writing Fiction” and “Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months.” Dufresne teaches creative writing at FIU. Link to Profile: http://worldsahead.fiu.edu/2012/john-dufresne-novelist-professor-guggenheim-fellow/

38 Comments
  • AD Queen
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    1:35 I've never related to someone that hard as I did in that moment.

  • Scott Lawder
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Well said-the nobility is that we face it and go on, we love again.

  • 77777aol
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    So many great points. Thank you Professor John Dufresne. [This has me wondering who was the first person to write that cliché 'happy ever after'?!]

  • Madison Estes
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Eh, I disagree with some things he mentioned at the end. In my personal experience, if I just sit at my desk, I'm not going to get inspired. I get inspired watching movies, reading books, talking to friends, and living life. Once I even got a story idea by talking to a stranger I met while walking my dog. You do have to have the discipline to sit down and write that idea to completion, and discipline is essential, but I disagree with the idea that you can just will yourself to be inspired or that you can summon the muse by sheer determination. That doesn't work for everyone.

    Also nowadays you don't have to be "at the desk," or even on your laptop. I got a story idea while watching a movie and I starting writing about it in my phone. Without even realizing it, I wrote a 3000 word outline in my phone while lying on the couch and half watching a movie. Multi-tasking can be helpful sometimes. So can stepping away from the literal or metaphorical desk. The only important thing is that you don't give up just because it gets hard.

    I do like what he said about taking an interesting character and putting them in trouble. That is how my current WIP started.

  • Adel Sayadkooh
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    It is inspiring and finally i found a talk that is reasonable as well! particularly about romantic muse of writing…

  • PrateekT30
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Spotted at 0:46: Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field (in the foreground; a gavel-like object on top of it revealing the cover just barely).

  • Алексей Блужин
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Perfectly right, thanks. As i understand, the point is to work with good idea and success will come.

  • Patrick Jonas
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Moderator Guidelines for Healthy Communities Effective April 17, 2017. https://www.reddit.com/help/healthycommunities/

  • jillhbaudhaan
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Never had him but I had his wife at BBC

  • Karl O'Connor
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    A lot of the time the character is the story, who or what your main character is can definitely dictate where the story goes.

  • Valerie Pagoada81
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Yes Yes Yes

  • Artix Grey
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    please! traduce this video in spanish!!!! the subtitles

  • RichardFeynmanRules
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    I love his cat traipsing through just as he talks about something unexpected happening!

  • Hamza Ait Mansour
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    wow il like this video very helpful thank you

  • Lazar Stojanović
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Now that is a big cat.

  • AHMAD Chenel
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Nice video.

  • đøPpƏłĞāŅģƏŔ ānøņ
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    1:29
    yes

  • TheGrumps666
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    I love John Dufresne's writing den. It's an environment I can relate to. Now to follow his advice and get some writing done.

  • Onyxangel
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Thank you for this video

  • Vonna Ivory Joseph
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I feel validated, especially about where the muse lives and the nobility of moving through the sadness, but not denying it or ignoring it. Give it its proper place and distinction.

  • Carolyn Ellis
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    T don't tailgate

  • Andres PV
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Once upon a time an old man told me:
    "Sit your ass in the chair"
    And well…. Now Im a very cool guy :v

  • Susanne Feddern
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    1:33 This is like my cat is doing while I'm working :-))) Great Information, thank you for sharing!

  • Lisa Colorado
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    I couldn't write until I faced the reality that even great things end in sadness. I couldn't accept that when I was younger, especially coming out of the Mormon Church, where you can seemingly make something beautiful last forever. But the gift of the hard truths that I faced was, now I love the story of it all.

  • Carolyn Scott
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    At 2:20, what is that? Story on the right and what's on the left? Ideas? Notes? Editing? Excellent video, BTW.

  • JW Tucker
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    I've found that solutions to my stories, new ideas often come when I'm not writing. I might be working out, eating lunch, browsing at Barnes & Noble… even at my day job, ideas shoot all round: titles, character names, and scenes. I've found the little Note app on my phone is a handy way to catch those splices of ideas and thoughts. Many times they don't end up in stories or become anything; other times they turn into full scenes. Guess the point is to keep wondering, thinking about your work.

  • Ethan Thompson
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    writer Dustin Hoffman?

  • Flow3rsof3viL Flow3rsof3viL
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Aesthetics are eternal…Only words endure and to exist is opium enough for me. – F.P

    Man is a creation of desire, not a creation of need.
    The words of the world want to make sentences.
    Literary imagination is an aesthetic object offered by a writer to a lover of book.
    – Gaston Bachelard

    To exist is an artists greatest pride
    he desires no paradise other than being – O.M

  • The Morning Ballad
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Ah, I appreciate the b-roll but this man was really interesting and you took that away from me. Ah, who am I? Great video, great message, thank you for posting.

  • Ada Wu
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Very nice!

  • Mariem Mattoussi
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    what he said in under 3 minutes was brilliant but…. why did I volunteer to do a short story for the french teacher damn it! (╥﹏╥) I need to be slapped

  • Aurora Dorsey
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    hai people of the world

  • Mackaberryy
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    rar?

  • Aurora Dorsey
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    connor wanted me to say      nothing

  • Mackaberryy
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    Tobehh

  • Aurora Dorsey
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    bron we can see you across the room

  • Mackaberryy
    Posted at 12:36h, 30 April

    im watching you

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