She is a technical writing major with a minor in biology.Right from the start, view your characters inhabiting a distinct place. Jerome Stern says it is how you set up the situation, where the turning points of the story are, and what the characters do at the end of the story.A plot is a series of events deliberately arranged so as to reveal their dramatic, thematic, and emotional significance. If you are having trouble deciding on a plot, try brainstorming.Write Meaningful Dialogue Labels“John asked nervously” is an example of “telling.” The author could write “John asked very nervously” or “John asked so nervously that his voice was shaking,” and it still wouldn’t make the story any more effective.How can the author convey John’s state of mind, without coming right out and telling the reader about it? That is, mention a detail that conjures up in the reader’s mind the image of a nervous person.Dialogue is what your characters say to each other (or to themselves).Each speaker gets his/her own paragraph, and the paragraph includes whatever you wish to say about what the character is doing when speaking.But simply listing the emotions you experienced (“It was exciting” “I’ve never been so scared in all my life” “I miss her so much”) is not the same thing as generating emotions for your readers to experience. Read Raymond Carver, Earnest Hemingway, Alice Munro, and Tobias Wolff.For those of you who are looking for more long-term writing strategies, here are some additional ideas. If you don’t have time to read all of these authors, stick to Chekhov.He will teach you more than any writing teacher or workshop ever could.In today’s fast-moving world, the first sentence of your narrative should catch your reader’s attention with the unusual, the unexpected, an action, or a conflict. Remember that short stories need to start close to their end.