Elaine Viets is an hysterical speaker! If you have an opportunity to hear her, please try to make it. She has a very dry sense of humor and an awesome sense of timing.
The first part of her breakout session was on how to diagnose problems with your short stories that don't seem to be going anywhere and how to fix those problems.
-Think small and twisted. That gives the reader something unexpected to look forward to.
-Consider that you may be trying to put too much information in (it's a short story, not a novel).
-Usually, for a short story, you want no more than 4 main characters. If you have too many, you can combine roles or often just cut out one or two.
-Read your story aloud.
-Read good short stories.
-Write a one sentence plot summary then try to keep your story on that line of thinking.
-Start quick, finish quick
-Finish with a twist (personal preference here. Some people don't like twists at the end)
-Think about something you KNOW well and write about that or include that in your story.
The second part of her session was on how to get published. I'm mentally burnt out right now, so I'll post the rest tomorrow.