25 06 18
Steps for Writing a Short Story

Writing a short story is a great way to practice writing skills. Because a short story limits your word count, you have to determine which details are important and delete the others. This can be a challenge for writers who have so many ideas they want to convey. If you have been tasked with writing a short story but are stuck, here’s some information to help:

What is a Short Story?

Short stories are fictional works. There are three kinds of short stories:

  • Micro fiction – can be as short as five to less than 100 words
  • Flash fiction – length ranges from 101 to 1,000 words
  • Traditional – can be as long as 5,000 words per story

Elements of a Short Story

Writers who excel at writing short stories are able to master combining five elements that must be present. These are:

  • Characters – these are people, animals, objects, or creatures that think and talk
  • Setting – the location where the story takes place
  • Plot – the series of events that lead to the climax
  • Theme – a general “truth” about life
  • Point of View – the vantage point the author uses to tell a story

Steps to Writing a Short Story

A short story is an artform that takes practice and dedication. Here is a five-step plan to help you improve your short story writing:

  1. Determine what message you’re trying to convey
    Choosing a theme for the story makes it easier to formulate a story. When you know which lessons the characters should learn or teach the readers, it helps inspire writing.
  2. Write a plot that coincides with the message
    Once you’ve figured your message, create a storyline that coincides with that theme. The first step is what message you want to tell. This second step is how you deliver that message.
  3. Create your character
    Memorable fiction characters are detailed. Give each a distinct personality and allow them to develop. Character development is one of the biggest challenges for short story writers. You only have a handful of pages to transform certain characters.
  4. Write an attention-grabbing first paragraph
    The first paragraph of your story captures the attention of an audience. Make that paragraph interesting by making a bold statement, relate to the audience, appeal to the senses, or add a little mystery.
  5. Build to the climax and end with a satisfying resolution
    Short stories begin closer to the climax than a regular novel would. Keep your build to the climax interesting and fast, and take care not to rush it.

Here’s how to build a gripping end to the story:

  • Write a clear-cut ending that explains exactly what happens
  • Provide an open ending that lets the readers decide for themselves how the story ends
  • Offer a monologue from one of the characters, tying it all together
  • Create symbolic ending with meaning beyond the literal one

One of the best ways to improve your creative writing skills is to keep reading. Observe the writing techniques of authors you enjoy, and try to develop your own creative writing style.

If you need help with writing, editing, proofreading, or finishing a writing assignment, Masters Essay is at your service. Call us today at (647) 436-7280.