First, start in the middle of the story. Then use conversation that moves the story forward. Also, provide details the mean something in the story and move the story forward. Or provide details about a character, or in this case, about the J’s house and their children.
It’s good to keep the narrative limited and to provide details about characters, such as I did with J’s son and daughter in my story We’re Not Them.
Here’s an example from that story:
The J’s curly-headed son began to plead, clasping his grubby hands together as if praying; their twelve-year-old daughter, glued to her phone, barely looked up, ensuring her heavily mascaraed eyes did not betray her.
“You guys go, we’re frankly beat,” said Jill and drew a hand through her short blond bob. She looked tired, deep circles under her large hazel eyes.
John nodded. He looked refreshed, his thick hair still arranged just so, his dark, hooded eyes bright and clear.
Elizabeth watched as he sat back and lit a cigar. “Disappointing,” Elizabeth said as the son slogged away unhappily to his room. She imagined his room was as messy as the J’s house, cluttered with papers, shoes, books, computers and cords.
Sue Powers is now teaching How to Write a Short Story via email. Two of her students have health issues, one dropped out and fourth came to the last class. One of the her students who has health issues is now in the hospital. She says she’ll keep me posted when she’ll come out, and Sue hope she does.