January 25, 2010

LAUREN TARSHIS -- Top 6-1/2 List

Lauren Tarshis is the first person to participate in Wild About Word's Top 6-1/2 List. This occasional feature will share wit and wisdom from editors, agents, award-winning authors, etc.

Lauren Tarshis is the author of Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Award for Fiction, as well as the sequel, Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell In Love. Coming soon is her new high-interest historical fiction series for young readers, "I Survived," featuring boys who survived some of history's most thrilling and terrifying disasters, including the sinking of the Titanic and the Shark Attacks of 1916. Lauren is also the editor of Storyworks Magazine, a delightful literature and language arts magazine for elementary school students.

Lauren has generously shared her Top 6 1/2 List of what makes a good short story.

"I think really it's the same elements that make for a successful novel, but it needs to be established more quickly." -- Lauren Tarshis


1. Create a character we can care about.
2. Come up with a problem that is clearly defined.
3. It's essential that there is something your character needs to gain or stands to lose.
4. The plot must enable this to happen.
5. You must have a clear and concise writing style (for kids).
6. You also need to have a very clear voice.
6 1/2. An echo. "I've been lucky to have worked with such wonderful writers over my years at Storyworks, and we have published dozens of truly delightful stories. In the end, my favorite stories have something I'll call "an echo," which is that feeling that lingers in your mind and heart for days after reading it."

Lauren, thank you for sharing your Top 6-1/2 List of what makes a good short story!


Tina Wexler said...

Love the new feature, Donna. Thanks for sharing your tips, Lauren.

Anonymous said...

Great tips. Thank you Lauren!

Jill said...

Great feature!

I'm going to post those tips next to my computer. Thanks Lauren.