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Short Story Guidelines

* The story must be three pages long (not two pages and a half or three pages plus two lines. Three pages exactly.)
* Font: Times New Roman, 12 pts. 
* One setting for the whole story.
* The objective time of the story: one day.
* Introduce the main character in the first paragraph.
* Use one recurrent object (at least three times) that symbolizes the main character's state of mind. 
* Show don't tell. 
* No introspection (meaning I don't want to know what the character thinks or how he/she feels inside. I want action.)
* No dreams.
* No adverbs.
* Avoid unnecessary adjectives to describe mental states. Ex: The violent man killed the feeble dog. 
* Escalating conflict at all times until you reach a resolution.
* Break story down in paragraphs. Each paragraph should work as a unit of sentences. This means that each sentence must bleed into the next. 
* Use dialogue sporadically, and only to move plot forward by providing new information. 
* Avoid lengthy dialogue. No speeches.
* Do not use clichés (Example: Roses are red, violets are blue. Her eyes, shining like stars.) Look for original images.
* Avoid moralizing. In other words, don't preach to the reader on how to live life.
* You plant clues to point the reader in some direction, but you don't tell the reader what the story is about.
* Avoid unnecessary wordiness. Watch for extra words that could be easily deleted.
* Make sure you revise your story before turning it in. 

 

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