Short story writing – Tips & guidelines
How to write a short story
A short story focuses on characters and scenes, whenever possible only on just one conflict, and makes the story plot quick and unexpected. If you wish to write one, here are some tips and guidelines you can follow to make it a good one.
Quick tips if you have a deadline to finish your short story
Do you have a short story with a due date coming fast? If you are on edge on the due date, then these quick tips would be helpful:
- Establish your protagonist’s goals- For example, The athlete who wants his team to win a national championship.
- Define the moral action taken by the protagonist towards the goals- The protagonist’s character should have a conscious action that they might want to do to achieve the goals, whether it is good or bad decisions.
- Determine the obstacles- While the protagonist’s goals have already been established, as the writer, you should determine the obstacles in its way towards reaching the goals.
- Figure out the unexpected conflict after the protagonist has taken moral actions- The story has to have a plot twist to make a shocking revelation for the readers.
- Focus on the detailing- Elements such as setting, dialogue, and tone will clearly help you deliver the fantasy to the reader’s mind.
- Determine the moral story that the protagonist takes at the climax. The reader should care about the protagonist’s decision, regardless it is a big decision or not. Still, ideally, they should not have seen it coming.
For those of you who are looking into more long-term strategies, the following points shall prove helpful:
The first paragraph is everything
Write a catchy first paragraph to engage the reader’s attention. Readers like to read an impressive, unpredictable, or conflict first paragraph. With catchy first paragraphs, you can make the reader curious about what happens next.
You have to make different personalities come out in the story. To create a living, breathing character, it is crucial to understand the character more than the one you write down in the story. Here is a partial list of character details that might help you develop a great character in your short story. With all these details it would be easy for you to describe your characters in your story. Meanwhile, your reader doesn’t need to know all of the details. Perhaps just about appearance, action, speech, and thought would be enough.
Choose a point of view
The perspective of your story is determined by the point of view, whether it is in the first, second, or third person. As a writer, you have to decide who will tell your story. If you are going to use a narrator, it can be directly involved in the action subjectively, or might only report the act objectively
Add meaningful dialogues
Shape your readers dive into a meaningful dialogue by hearing the pauses between particular sentences (e.g., Jason nervously asked Anastasia. “Wh- what did you do with Tommy?). Each speaker gets his/her own paragraph, and you can write down what the character will do or say.
Think about the setting and context
The setting is vital to moves the reader’s imagination. Fantasize where do you want to put your character’s location. Is it in dessert, jungle, or a city? Setting includes the time, place, context, and ambience where the plot running. As a short story writer, you have to remember to combine setting with characterization plot. Do not forget to include enough detail of the situation for delivering the message to the readers. If it is possible, you can use two or more senses in your description of the setting.
Set up a plot
The storyline, actions, and the way things go in a story is referred to as the plot. A plot should be dramatic, thematic, and of high emotional significance. Understanding these elements of the story for developing actions will help you create an excellent plot for your short story.
Conflict and tension
For any fiction story, conflict and tension are the heart of the story that make it interesting to read. Conflict can produce tension that makes the story running. It is created by opposing the protagonist’s characters, even from the internal protagonist’s character itself. By balancing the opponent with the protagonist, you can make the readers curious which keeps them glued to your story.
Build a crisis
The most dramatic situation within the short story is the turning point of the story. The main character realizes something that needs to be done. But it needs to occur at the right time. If it comes too early, the story will become predictable. And it too late, then the readers will become bored or impatient. Timing is the key here.
End it well
At this point, you usually mention how a conflict is resolved. And you need to tell how this impacts your characters. This is the right way you should end your stories.
These are the following ways in which you can end your story:
- Open – Readers determine the meaning by themselves.
- Resolved – Clear-cut outcome, which is the writer will describe the climax clearly.
- Parallel to Beginning – Similar to the opening situations.
- Monologue – Ended with character’s comment.
- Dialogue – Ended with the characters’ conversation.
- Symbolic Image – Details that represent a meaning beyond the original.
Now you know the right way to write one and can share your story with the world once you’re done writing it.
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