I've been spontaneously writing short (or very short) stories lately. Dunno where they come from. I think it's time I start on my next book? Is that what my brain is telling me? Anyway. Rereading them reminded me of something I have heard for the first time at Chuck Palahniuk's reading several years ago. He read a couple of his short stories, and someone in the audience asked what every story needs. If there are any rules, any elements that make for a great short story. I was just beginning to write back then, awestruck by the brilliance of Fight Club. I leaned forward with bated breath, ready to record every precious word, heaving a sigh, chocking on my own impatience. This is what Chuck said.
EVERY STORY NEEDS:
- A clock.
- A birth.
- A death.
- 3 elements that repeat (starting from page 1).
- Make reader do 4 things: feel smarter than you, laugh, cry, be sick.