Get it all down before editing!
I have started many novels and many more short stories. I also have a bad habit of not finishing them! Luckily, I finally found one of the secrets to finishing them and so I’ll share it with you.
The key? Don’t start editing as you go along. I’ve gotten more done in a shorter time than I thought possible, just by posting on an online site. (This can be public or private, by the way.)
Why? Because it forces me to keep moving forward. Instead of writing two pages, going back, changing things, editing, and reworking, I write two pages, post them, write the next two, and keep on going. I’ve made a few notes about things to include or change later but I’ve gotten a lot more of the actual story told than I otherwise would have. So keep writing! Don’t stop till you are done, and then go back and polish! You will notice a difference.
Embrace conflict and confrontation in your stories
Why? Because conflict is what creates drama. Conflict doesn’t have to be argument between people. It can mean an obstacle to the character’s goal. Conflict of some type is usually needed for an interesting story.
Your character is trying to get to grandma’s house, but there is snow in the way and the horse doesn’t want to pull the sleigh. Will your character ever get to grandma’s house? Or will they be able to convince the horse to pull the sleigh? On the way, what if there are robbers or sheep wearing wolf suits? Anything could happen.
The challenge to the character creates the suspense, the drama. If it was a story about how the person got in the sleigh and everything went perfectly, it would be boring, wouldn’t it? That can be fun for a scene, or to set the stage for something else, but not as a whole story. You’d think that would be obvious, but can’t we all think of stories where the author didn’t think of it?
Use conflict and confrontation as tools to add spice to your stories. At the very least, try being aware of the conflict in a story as you read it, and watch how it makes that story more interesting.