10 Simple Tips on How to Write a Short Story

WritingEssayEast.com - Intro Blog Banner How to Write a Short Story

Not everyone can write a novel. It’s not as easy as it seems. Maybe, it’s time for you to start writing short stories. Short story writing is a popular way to make some money and enter long-form fiction writing, but don’t confuse short with simple.

Short stories are extremely adaptable. They allow you to express ideas and create characters quickly, allowing readers to immerse themselves in some other world without sacrificing much time. Is there anything you can do to ensure that a publisher will accept your short story? I’ve come up with a list of ten tips that will help you in this task.

Remember the differences between a novella and a novel

Novels and novellas (or short stories) have several features in common.  It’s important that they’re well-written. They should also share stories, regardless of length. As a result, they must both contain the following elements:

  • exposition
  • rising action
  • climax
  • resolution

Still, these two types of writing are not the same. The fundamental distinction between a novel and a novella is their length. A novel is a long piece of literature. In terms of style, it’s a work of fiction. As the name suggests, a short story is a brief piece of writing about an episode from a character’s life. Authors of short stories are more restricted when it comes to word count. As a result, short stories may tell readers about some elements of someone’s life.

Write an informative exposition

Companies frequently print stories that start with strong opening lines at the beginning. What is the reason for this? Giving readers the information ahead of time can assist them in deciding whether to keep on reading.

Furthermore, the greatest short story authors should polish their introduction to the story to ensure that they capture the reader’s attention.

This way, you can throw your readers in the center of the story as it escalates. Keep the plot simple but at the same time intriguing.

Keep moving forward

Short stories must have quick pacing. The pace usually speeds up when the protagonist is in the final conflict. The climax in a short story usually starts near the conclusion. From the very opening, the reader must be hooked to the drama.

Limit the number of characters you write

In a short story, the more characters you create, the more confusing it is for your readers to keep track of them. There are only three main characters in a captivating short story: the lead, primary opponent, and what may writers call the wrench character. 

Readers want someone to root for, someone to despise, and, on rare occasions, someone who encourages the lead character’s personality development.   But it isn’t a necessity for every short story. You can even focus on a single character.

Introduce a character your readers will love

Every story has a hero, and the goal is to make the reader love the protagonist. Several approaches can be used to deepen your protagonist’s relationship with your readers.

Give the lead character an interest, which your readers could ideally relate to. Give your character the courage to step outside of their personal bubble. Make your character vulnerable in a way that the reader can understand.

Create some drama!

Every novella must have at least one conflict. The protagonist should face a challenge. This struggle should be surrounded by a lot of tension, and these factors will keep your reader focused and engaged. You can show your readers what your characters are made of by making horrible things happen to them. There is no such thing as too much drama in a short story.

Give your character a good (but short) backstory

We shouldn’t get lost reading about a character’s past. It’s best not to get into too much detail. You have a limited word count, to begin with. Every unnecessary phrase should be left out.

Even if you don’t describe much of it on paper, you must have the backstory figured out in your thoughts. You must grasp a character’s motive to write an engaging story. Your story will attract your readers by engaging their senses and generating tight dialogue.

However, you can (and should!) have the whole backstory figured out in your head as your write the story. It will help you understand the character better. To write an engaging short story, you must first know a character’s motive.

Engage all five senses

Don’t limit the readers’ perspective to just the visual aspect of your narrative. Allow them to interact with your universe by using their senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Using your sensory experiences in writing is a fantastic technique to pull your reader into the story. The deeper their understanding of what it’s like to feel like your character at that specific moment, the better they’ll like the story. It just makes reading more interesting.

Bring your characters to life using dialogue

A good dialogue can give away much about the character, so it’s important to use it the right way. Put your character in a scene and give them anything to talk about. There’s no greater way to create tension than with well-written language. Understanding basic rules like spelling and punctuation is critical when considering how to write dialogue in a story. But, it’s also important to keep it accurate: you can read the dialogue aloud to make sure it’s not stiff.

Take your time while you edit

It doesn’t matter how wonderful a writer believes their work is; it can always be altered and made more interesting. A competent writer must be a sharp editor. You can:

  • cut out the unnecessary characters.
  • delete the filler bits and get to the core of the plot.
  • remove describing words that aren’t necessary.
  • emphasize the importance of each sentence.

Remember that just because a story is brief doesn’t mean it’s easy to write. There is no limit when it comes to editing a story.

You have to practice every day if you want to become a good writer. Start as little as a few sentences each day. Once you’ve mastered that, try writing, adding more sentences to your daily limit. Keep practicing regularly, and the results will surprise you.