Writing A Short Story

short story
On 22th May 2015, I joined a workshop for the short stories writing which was held by Kompas Newspaper at Bentara Budaya Bali Denpasar. This event was held for celebrate the 50th Kompas Newspaper in 5 Cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Denpasar, Makassar and Padang Panjang. This event attended by authors from East Java, Bali, NTB, and NTT. The committee said as many as 104 authors submitting short stories to be selected by the organizing committee and finally selected 40 authors. I never expected to be among the great ones.

There are two presenters in this event whom i never imagined could meet him : Budi Darma and Gde Aryantha Soetama. Budi Darma is a proffesor at the English Department of the State University of Surabaya. Budi Darma’s was published by Balai Pustaka and won several awards including the Jakarta Art Institute Literary award and the S.E.A. Write Award (Southeast Asian Write award). Budi Darma short stories published as the best stories in Annual Kompas Short Stories Book, such as ‘Derabat’ (1999), ‘Mata Yang Indah’ (2001) dan “Laki-Laki Pemanggul Goni” (2013). Gde Aryantha Soetama is a writer from Bali. His short stories tell about Bali culture and their problems. The short story book from Gde Aryantha Soetama “Mandi Api” (2006) won The Khatulistiwa Literary Award (2006). The book was translated into English as Ordeal by Fire (2009) by Vern Cork.


The first lesson is given by Budi Darma starting by providing examples of the author and his writing style. I tried to summarize as follows:

  1. Soeman HS, is the pioneer of short stories writers in Indonesia.

A collection of short stories published by Balai Pustaka. He have simple and hilarious writing style.

  1. Edgar Allan Poe, is a short stories writer and melancholic and gloomy poetry writer.

His stories are always short and straight to the end. The characteristics of his short stories is to give the effect of terror, horror, sadness, and excitement to the reader at the same time. The first sentence usually clear. His short stories give a pressure of imagination and originality.

  1. Somerset Maugham, is a British novelist and short story writer who likes travelling in Asia, especially India.

He likes to read classic literature from middle east. The characteristics of the short story from Somerset Maugham and Soeman HS can be summarized as follows: short, catchy title, the plot develops smoothly, and the surprising ending.

  1. Soebagio Sastrowardoyo, is an essayist, critic, short stories writer.

According Soebagio, the authors should have a natural talent and intellectualism since the 1950s generation of the story just relying on natural talent. So when the story is based on personal experience has been exhausted told, he still has intellectualism to bring new ideas.

  1. Stephen King, is the author of horror novels of America.

He wrote a non-fiction book ‘On Writing’ that “most books about writing are full of bullshit”. According to this book, how to write is not important but the experience was more important. The behavorist assume that if you want to be a writer, a person can be conditioned to be a writer.

Speaking about the newspaper short stories, newspaper stories are stories created by adjusting the character and size of the paper. Due to the current paper size smaller, short stories must also be made shorter, for example, is the size of short stories now Kompas Newspaper maximum of 10,000 characters. So a newspaper short stories writer should have the ability to do the abstraction. Even made short stories, short stories would be appropriate if the intensity hit that stories can made the reader remembered it for a long time


In contrast to Budi Darma, Aryantha deliver lesson with very short notice. Aryantha deliver material to two questions: what and how. What first must be done by a writer is traveling. Both soul, imagination, nor do traveling in mind and body. After traveling, the second question is how we write down it. Such as news, features, essays, articles, poems, prose, or short stories depending on how we process them into a story. Aryantha then gives examples of Bubble Theory. It is known as mind mapping. Aryantha make a sample with a primary idea ‘Sanur Beach’. Sanur beach can be developed into bubbles of small ideas that will become the keyword for the developing story. The examples of bubble theory can be seen in the figure below:kompas6

Aryantha give tips in making stories. First, our story must be unique and authentic. We must learn to make a unusual story. But, don’t forget to be yourself. Aryantha said that every story has a message that is reflected from every word and every sentence. So, don’t be too wordy. We must be able to write with efficiency by putting the word conjunctions (such as and, with, that) to the proper sentence structure. Write a short story should have only one focus of the story. It is also important to explore the characters just because stories are not the same as the novel that could be tapping many character. Secondly, The story must have a causality that give a border from the opening paragraph until the end of the story. This causalit give a deepen the impression of a story so that in the end the reader will always be reminded of our story.

So, Lets begin to make our short stories !


Catatan :

tulisan ini merupakan versi bahasa inggris dari postingan bulan mei yang berjudul “Karena Menulis Adalah  Belajar Menemukan Diri” dan diterjemahkan sekaligus dimodifikasi untuk paper yang dipresentasikan dalam diskusi bahasa arab dan bahasa inggris rutin hari rabu di masjid ulul albab UIN Malang”


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