They say if you want to be a writer, you have to read. A lot. Well, I've recently discovered that dissecting something similar to what you want to write is even better.
So this week your assignment is to find a short story that you really like, one that you want to emulate. Read it carefully and take notes. How does the author transition from scene to scene? How does he or she show character development? What sensory descriptions are used and where?
When you're done, look through all your notes. What have you learned? I bet there's quite a few things that you picked up on. Take one of those and apply it in your own writing this week. Good luck!
I really like the idea of specific exercises like the one I gave last week. I like them especially because it means I don't have to look for an article. (If you have a suggestion, please let me know.)
Your exercise for this week is to write a story entirely out of dialogue. How are you going to tell the characters apart? How are you going to convey conflict? How are you going to describe your setting? Well, your dialogue will have to do more than just be people talking to fill the silence.
Ernest Hemingway once compared writing to an iceberg. You can only see 10% of it. The other 90% is hidden below the surface.
If I recall correctly, this piece of advice was spoken by Mary Robinette Kowal on an episode of Writing Excuses. Her advice was to sit somewhere and describe the area you were for 20 minutes. She said it was hard, hard enough to push you. You get all of the easy things out of the way at the very beginning, then you go through a phase of not knowing what to write. Then you start finding the really telling, fine details.
So that is your assignment for this week. Pick a spot, any spot. It could be in the woods. It could be at a train station or a restaurant. It could even be in your nearest Walmart parking lot. Sit there for 20 minutes and just write what you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. Taste might not work out so well if you're sitting in the Walmart parking lot.
Once you've completed that task, write a story in that setting (or one very similar). Use those details you listed to really ground your readers. Make the story come to life through your sensory images!
And then come back and tell me how it went.