“Short fiction seems more targeted – hand grenades of ideas, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode, and you never forget them.” ~Paolo Bacigalupi
When someone says the words Short Story, the first thing that comes to mind is: Oh! That must be easy. Hehe, nope. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. It’s hard, but immensely satisfying, and very fun. According to the dictionary, the definition of a short story is: A story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel. They’re usually about 1,500 to 3,000 words, but you can have as little as 500 and as much as 5,000.
Choose a focus. Focus can mean a lot of things, like, genre, ideas, emotion, ect. But start by picking a main idea. A lot of stories come from memories. If you have no idea how to start your story, do this. You can give it a twist, or just leave it as it is! Next, if you’re giving it a twist, will there be magical elements? Or maybe more sci-fi? Or even realistic, but just a little more exciting then your memory initially was. A really
interesting thing to do is pick a main emotion to convey. Maybe, for example, your story is about someone dying. This would be a sad story (obviously!) but how would you show that? How would it be conveyed? Jot down your ideas, until you’ve got a pretty good idea of how your story is going to work.
Edit the focus. Go into more detail. For instance, who is the protagonist? Is it you? A friend? If you’re unsure of what characteristics you’d like you’re protagonist to have, base them off a a person you know well. If you’re basing your story off of a memory, it’s a little easier. Set the scene. What does it look like? Anything really important that you have to explain. Continue to edit until you have a story line.
Write, write, write! With all your ideas, all you have to do is fill in with details and action. Stories all have similar bones.
- An Introduction, or a beginning hook.
- Rising action
- Falling action (return or fall)
- Catastrophe, denouement, resolution, or revelation.
I suggest giving yourself a writing schedule. 100 words a day is perfect, and surprisingly not a lot. If you go over, that’s great! But set it as a goal. If you come face to face with writers block (cross your fingers that you don’t) revisite your main ideas, or ask for help. Soon, your story will be done!
Edit some more! Although this may be my least favorite step, it’s still very important. Revisit your story, and look for plot holes. Ta-da, your story is done!!
That was a very long post, thanks for getting through it! Have you written a short story? Did you enjoy it? What did you find the hardest, novel or short story? As always, thanks for reading. Maeve