How to Write a Short Story
Everybody knows writing a story is not easy. Like the drama or the poem, it is imaginative literature that should appeal to the emotions of the readers. Since it communicates the writer's interpretation of reality, there must be an artistic use of language to signify human experience. But how do we write a great short story? What are the things to keep in mind in order to come up with a short story that works? Here's a quick guide to get you started:
Reading is essential to anyone who wants to write. In order to be able to write a good short story, you must read other short stories first. This will not only give you the motivation and inspiration for your own story, but it will also help you learn how other authors made an impression on the reader and use their style as basis to create your own style and impression.
2. Get inspired
For seasoned professionals, there is no need to obtain inspiration because thoughts naturally flow and they only have to put them into words on paper. But for novice writers, it is important to have one because it will not only help you begin your first paragraph but also keep you going throughout. Your inspiration may take the form of an object. a person, or an event that you just can't seem to forget.
3. Conceptualize your story
Think of something you want to talk about with your readers. Let's say you want to relate a story about a couple who fell in love with each other. What about the couple? What is it about them that you are interested to let your readers know? Focus on this idea and think of other concepts that you want to associate with this couple. Suppose the girl's parents discommended their relationship. What about the parents? What did they do to stop the two from loving each other? This could signal a good beginning for your story. From here, you would have the notion what to write down.
4. Map out the scenes
In order to keep your writing aligned with your pre-conceived story events, it is good to briefly map out scenes of your story on a different piece of paper. Write down the possible characters of your story and list the main events in order. You don't have to put so much detail on them because this only serves as a rough sketch of how your story will look like.
5. Chooose your point of view
Who tells the story and how it is told is very critical for a short story to be effective. The point of view can change the feel and tone of the story radically. Hence, you must decide carefully before finally resolving with the angle of vision to use for your story. But whatever it is you decide to choose as the point of view, make sure it stays constant throughout your story to maintain consistency.
6. Conceive your characters
For a short story, create a maximum of only three main characters. Too many main characters will make your story confusing since each new character will provide a new dimension for the story. Each character should be more than cardboard caricatures. Make your characters speak naturally in proportion with their traits. Make them believable but mysterious.
7. Furnish a good introduction
When you have everything planned out, start scribbling your first paragraph. Introduce your main characters and set out the scene. The scene must be some place you know much about so that you'd be able to supply the necessary snapshot for a clearly described setting. Make your introduction interesting to hold the reader’s interest and encourage them to read on to the end. It is also important to hold back significant details and the greater part of the action at this point so the mystery is kept.
8. Build up a great plot
From your introduction, draw out events that will eventually create a problem or a conflict for the main character/characters. After that, begin laying out an array of clues to keep the reader interested, intrigued and guessing. Intensify the conflict as the story moves forward. This will not only make your reader enthused to read more but will also keep them riveted to your story.
9. Show don't tell
The characters should be the ones responsible for expressing the story through their actions and dialogue and not the writer telling the reader what is being expressed. Rather than saying, "Annette was really mad at her bestfriend Christina for stealing her boyfriend", say "Annette felt an ache in her stomach and a strong pang of betrayal as Christina approaches her and flashes her with a sweet smile. She breathed hard trying to calm herself as she speaks with suppressed anger: "I hope you're happy now that you've proven yourself as a friend."
10. Use active verbs
Put as much life into your story as you can. In order to do this, employ verbs in the active voice in your story. Instead of saying,"The flower was picked by Johanna", say "Johanna picked the flower."
11. Use some dialogue
Dialogue is important in bringing your story to life. Don't just use it to pad out your characters. Use it to convey your characters to identify with the reader. Use it in direct quotes like "Go there!" instead of indirect quotes as "She told him to go there."
12. Keep references handy
A good reference such as a thesaurus or a dictionary is crucial in creating a good story. You can use them to check your spellings and to find the words which best fit your description. Instead of using one lengthy sentence or paragraph, you can utilize one or just a few words to convey what you want to say. Oftentimes, one strong word has a greater effect than a paragraph full of fancy language.
13. Conclude briefly
Conclusions are tough sledding. For a good ending, it is advisable to experiment and to add a little twist. Make your ending unique but not hanging in a loose end. Make it satisfying without making it too predictable. Keep in mind to keep it short but concise and lingering so that the reader is left with a feeling of resonance. Your conclusion should wrap up everything from start to finish.
14. Edit and revise
After fashioning the last words of your story, it is time to begin the editing cycle. Carefully go through your work and fix all your mistakes regarding sentence construction, word usage, formatting. punctuation marks, diction, spelling, grammar, and descriptive analysis. Scratch out words, phrases and even paragraphs which don't seem to contribute to the basic elements of the story. After you're done, let it sit for a while for days and even weeks, then edit it again. Reread your story over and over again at different occasions. This will make you see various things you may want to change to make your story shine at its best.
15. Let others proof read
Have your friends take a look at your work. They may just be able to see mistakes which you have missed. For instance, they may be distracted with some words or lines which you adore dearly. In this case, you have to decide on changing it or cutting it off completely.
Writing a short story may not be easy but it can surely be done. With some knowledge on the basic elements and some passion and patience, it's effortless to pull together a story with just a few ideas. Just keep in mind that you're writing not because you have to, but because you want to. Give it a go now!
Rachelle Arlin Credo is an entrepreneur and relationship coach. She also works as an image consultant and part-time writer. Formerly a contributing scribe to The Freeman and Sunstar Daily - Philippines, she writes short stories, poems, essays, and tons of articles for Writers.net, Netterweb.com, Ideamarketers.com, Searchwarp.com, and Goarticles.com. For more info, mailto: email@example.com.
Ways to Make Extra Income Using the Internet
To capitalize on ways to make extra income you can (and should) use the Internet for test marketing:
How to Write Headlines for How-to Articles
Want to write a how-to article but can't come up with a topic?
Story Structure - Final Conflict
Beyond three and four act story structure, lies the Hero's Journey.
How To Stay Fit While Writing
Day after day, writers tend to sit for hours writing that novel or story, and over time, this can become a potential problem. Their metabolism may slow down and the pounds can inch up. Statistics show all kinds of health problems associated with obesity.
Whats in a Name? Giving Birth to your Characters
So you've got your plot outlined, a title lined up and the research is done. You're ready to start writing your novel. But wait. Now comes the fun part: creating names for your characters. One of the best things about being a writer-besides the innate ability to create imaginary worlds-is giving birth to a character and then bestowing a name upon him or her. True, you didn't carry the character in your womb for nine months (especially if you're male). But he or she could've been in your head for nine months?or nine years. So choosing a name for your characters seems almost as important as the one you would give your own child.
Its All About YOU!
The Hottest Word on the Web
That Cute Lil Ol Apostrophe
Have you ever had a student write to tell you they've achieved Grade A's at exams? I have, and one of them was a grade A in English!
Check Your English Grammar With This Easy Technique
As an International language, English has been used widely in online world. Whether you use it to write a sales letter, a follow up, ads headline, an article, and so on, you need to use it correctly.
Revising Your Manuscript: Fourteen Questions to Ask Yourself
1) Can you summarize the story in about a sentence or two?
Understanding Editorial Guidelines
Editorial guidelines, also known as writer's guidelines, are the rules set forth by publishers for contributing authors. In order to have your article taken seriously you must review the guidelines prior to submission. It is also recommended that you review previous editions of the publication to get a better feel for the types of articles favored by the editor(s).
Blank Mind, Blank Screen: Need Ideas!
Q. I'm staring at a blank screen with an equally blank mind. I need an idea for tomorrow's newsletter. Help!
Five Golden Rules for Writers
Regardless of what sort of writer you are and how much you love to write, there are probably days when you'd rather clean ditches than face another blank page.
Creative Writing Tips - Does The Name You Chose Suit Your Character?
How do you choose a name? Do you put down the first name that pops into your mind? Initially that's what I used to do, until someone pointed out to me that there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a name?
Interview with Suspense Author Peter Abrahams
Peter Abrahams is the author of thirteen novels, including "The Tutor," (Ballantine Books) "A Perfect Crime," (Ballantine Books), "The Fan" (Fawcett Books), and most recently, "Their Wildest Dreams" (Ballantine Books).
7 Devastating Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Mistake One: Don't take that tone with me!
Writing Query Letters
A QUERY LETTER is written to an editor or agent to describe a piece of writing to ask if they'd like to see it. It is sent in lieu of an unsolicited (unasked for) manuscript. (A COVER letter is a letter sent to ACCOMPANY a manuscript.)
How Long is a Chapter?
How long should your chapters be?
How to Create Incredible Characters Easily
Creating incredible characters can be easy if you know of a few simple rules:
Writing For Free: When & When Not to Do It!
Right off the bat, I want to say that there is no right or wrong answer to this topic. A lot depends on your end goal - to get a job, garner publicity, build a portfolio, etc. However, there comes a time when every writer should say no to writing for free. Below are some issues that I've been pondering about freelance writing.
A Mode of Transportation
Great writing transports one vicariously to realms that the reader would not otherwise experience.
|home | site map|