The Three Keys to Successful Short Fiction:
Understand the difference between mystery and suspense; between drama (shock) and surprise.
Delineate the difference between Story and Plot. (The former are all the events that occurred. The latter is a singular event that epitomizes the entire story.) Note that Plot and Character can have equal weight in short fiction. Think of a Plot as an “obstacle course” all the characters have to undergo.
The moment the story fails, it starts to generate. Encourage the reader to take leaps of the imagination. Consider the art of time and fiction in writing. Create a unity of space, place and time. Each scene should be in the same place, at the same time, without flashbacks or flash-forwards.
Beginnings and Endings: “Throw away the first three pages”. “Cut off the last paragraph.” Complete the story, then determine where the true beginning begins. Endings arrive. They do not need resolution. How does the ending say, echo or interpret of all that has come before it?