1. Before putting pen to paper have the entire work including the ending worked out in your mind.
2. Write what can be read in one sitting. The time the typical reader is willing to spend reading has changed since Poe’s time but the concept is still valid.
3. Work toward unity of “effect.” Poe believed that the aim of a short story was to create a single mood, or ambience, which he called an effect. He favored melancholy and horror, but this applies to any mood.
4. Poe insisted that the effect should start at the very first line.
5. Related to the idea above include nothing that detracts or distracts from the design of the piece.
6. Regardless of the genre keep the story true to the way people really act in a given situation. It may be a fantasy, romance or science fiction but the characters’ actions should ring true to the human heart.
7. Stress imagination, invention, creation and originality. It is not necessary to invent a totally new situation. Familiar plot lines can be presented in fresh ways.
8. The resolution must be satisfying. In fact Poe suggested that the ending is often where to begin the piece.
By Warren Bull, author of Abraham Lincoln For the Defense http://tinyurl.com/z9grc2j and Abraham Lincoln in court & campaign http://tinyurl.com/zoxazej