Story Writing Tips
A Sample
Flash Fiction Story

Follow Along With These Story Writing Tips

Story writing tips on this page apply to narrative stories, like The Wallflower, presented here. This flash fiction story is included in my published collection, Off Center in the Attic – Over the Top Stories.

Off Center in the Attic

Over the Top Stories

by Mary Deal

This story is all about what goes on in the mind of a person watching another. No dialogue is given because the woman speaks to no one, just observes. When writing this kind of story, everything the narrator sees, feels, hears, etc., must be described in order to establish person, place, setting, and action. All these are required of any story if you wish to snag your reader.

 In The Wallflower, everything the narrator experiences is given to the reader as the action moves along. Notice that the story doesn’t stop to tell the reader what’s happening. Avoiding stopping the story must be one of your main writing objectives among all story writing tips. Describing the action is how it's done.

The Wallflower

 My two mannerly friends and I sit at our table and watch you walk into the room. People notice you, especially the guys. Your clothes are eye-catching and a bit more daring than I would think of wearing, but then, I don’t accept every style change that comes along. Maybe that’s why I sometimes feel like a wallflower in last month’s trends. Your patent red stilettos draw attention to the fact that you’ve learned to walk on tiptoes. At least doing so is said to keep the calf muscles firm.

  • Story Writing Tips - Right away, we know who is telling story and what they are doing and where. The entire story is about the sense of seeing, but so much more. The narrator, comparing her clothing to the object of her attention, draws our interest to a contrasting person in the story, who could be thought of as the antagonist.  When writing a short story, it must also have a protagonist, the main character, and an antagonist, a person or event that the protagonist must overcome or understand. More about this as I post article on the Articles page on this site.

That tight black mini skirt could easily show the meeting place of your legs but it does make you appear smaller than you really are. The plunging neckline of your beaded and sequined red silk blouse exemplifies the fact that you carry some weight, most of it above your waistband, and that acts as if it would rather break out and roam free. Your bangles and beads jingle and sparkle as only costume jewelry can. Maybe that’s why no one comments on the diamond tennis bracelet and other jewelry I patiently paid off over time in order to have pieces of value that will last. Their sparkle is subtle and pure under the lights of the nearby dance floor, but my jewelry doesn’t make any noise.

  • More Story Writing Tips - Notice here how senses are brought into the story as the woman’s jewelry clinks together. Later in the story the sense of smell is introduced with the perfume. However, one of the main writing objectives, that of establishing particular personalities, is accomplished in the previous paragraph.

You find your table but don’t sit to give the guys a chance to notice you. That’s our way, but much too slow for you, the ultimate woman of the moment. My friends and I know your moves too well and watch you play them out as we sometimes smile in disbelief behind our table napkins.

You fling your tiny red evening bag into a chair and begin swiveling your way around the room talking to every guy along the way and flipping your tinted hair using provocative gestures and batting false eyelashes. Your cleavage bounces and rolls as you gyrate your way from table to table. Some of the guys reach for you, as if they want you to stay with them a little longer. Some follow you and join others’ conversations as if trying to claim you.

  • Important Story Writing Tip - In the above paragraph, personalities are highlighted with both the protagonist and antagonist. Your reader needs to make a connection to the characters, love or hate or anything in between. Personality does that easily.

The women in the room watch you and some drag their guys to the dance floor when you get a little too close to their tables. I’ll bet I’m not the only person who expects you to break into song like a speak-easy entertainer of old who parks herself on the edge of some guy’s table, or in his lap. Your voice and laughter has a way of quieting a room and drawing attention only to you. Unlike you, too much noise and attention to me and my face turns red.

You pass our table and look at my friends and me only momentarily so you don’t have to read our expressions. You know we understand what’s happening here. You pucker up thick glossy red lips and move on. Or is that pucker from all the injections you’ve had to enlarge the upper lip you never had till a few months ago? Your colorful eye makeup would make Nefertiti envious but, surely, her perfume was more subtle. The red blush under your cheek bones accentuates both your jaw line and your fish-like pout.

  • Another Tip – If you want your reader to develop a sense of dislike for any character, describe their negative aspects.

Strange, too, is how once you spend an hour or so making your way around the room, you manage to corner some of the most eligible guys into a group and fawn over them, or they over you. As the night goes on you have trouble holding your glass upright. Strange, too, is how the guy you seem to favor begs out of the conversation leaving you with the others, even though you reach for him and try to draw him back.

  • Writing Tip for the Finale – When writing a short story, your writing objectives should include a great finale. Use the last paragraphs to bring about a clincher ending. Notice the paragraph above introduces a change in one of the characters, which predicts an unexpected turning of events, which leads to the finale in the last paragraph below.

Disbelief is your expression when he turns and walks straight over to our table and asks me to dance. As we whirl past you, the look you see on my face is not an expression of gloating. It’s simply the naturally blushing wallflower being thankful for being real. But I can’t help wonder who you really are and what you’re hiding behind the façade you’ve felt the need to build around yourself.

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Final Story Writing Tips - Notes

As we dissected The Wallflower, from my collection, Off Center in the Attic, I hope these story writing tips help you understand what needs to go into a narrative piece of prose. Many of these tips apply to other forms of writing, not just to narrative. You will learn when to use them as you experiment with different forms of prose. I hope you enjoy your experimenting and find your writing niche. but, like me, you may end up becoming a multi-genre writer, regardless of the length of stories written.

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