6 Most-useful Short Story Tips to Write Incredible Stories

Short stories are one of the best forms of writing to start your journey as an author. Many budding authors tend to go for writing novels and ultimately get lost in their journey. This is because the longer form of writing requires good experience, patience and is time-consuming. Due to this, it may be good for a beginner to start with blogging, short stories, etc. 

 

Having said that, do not take writing short stories to be easy. Like any other form of writing, you need to work on your skills and also learn about the technicalities of short story writing. To help you overcome the difficulties involved in it, we will be discussing in detail short story writing. Most importantly, this article will give you some of the best short story tips for your writing. This should enable you to pen down your thoughts into words. 

 

List of the useful short story tips

 

Apart from discussing the tips, it will also help you to learn about types of short stories and other details related to them. Firstly, we will be discussing the definition and types of short stories. Moving further, we will be providing you with some of the best tips.

 

Short Story Definition

 

A short story is fictional writing that is shorter than a novel. There is no specific maximum length of a short story. However, it can range anything from 1000 words to 7000 words. The length of some of the short stories does tend to go above this average range and reach somewhere around 10,000 words.

 

Unlike novels, short stories have a single plot. Most of the short stories contain one or two main characters. Also, such characters don’t have full backstories like a novel. Mostly short stories focus on a single subject. Apart from this, short stories have the tendency of beginning and ending abruptly. Typically, the reading of a short story finishes in a single sitting. 

 

Therefore, it makes short stories more popular and easy to read. Having discussed the definition of a short story, let us now move on to know about types of short stories.

 

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Types of Short Stories

 

Short stories are of different types depending upon length, genre, or even style of writing. Some of the types are discussed below to help you to understand short stories.

 

●     Fables

 

 Fables are fictional stories written to give morals or lessons to readers. Very often, animal characters are used in fables to tell the story. 

 

Interestingly, these animal characters are shown in the story to be reasoning about the things happening in it. Fables are written mainly for children. Thus, its concise size and use of animal characters make it easy to read and understand for children. 

 

For example, all of us know about the famous story of the Tortoise and Hare. This is a classic example of a fable. In this story, Aesop, the author has beautifully given the lesson through the two main characters that are hasty and careless. 

 

Through the character of the tortoise, he has explained that if you are consistent and committed to your goal, you can be the winner. One of the best Indian short stories examples of the fable is Panchatantra.

 

●     Vignette

 

A vignette is writing that expresses a particular moment, mood, character, or object. The length of a vignette is usually below 1000 words. However, it can be less than 500 words or just a few lines. 

 

Since vignette is an open form of writing, it is not necessarily written within a certain structure or a plot. Also, it is not limited to a certain genre or style. Vignettes are designed in such a way that it gives more imagery or visual description of a character, place, or event. 

 

Some of the best examples of vignettes are The Flowers by Alice Walker, In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, The Female Body by Margaret Atwood, etc. 

 

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●     Drabble

 

 A drabble is a short fiction containing 100 words. The author’s writing skills are put to test in this form of writing as they need to express themselves in very limited words. Like any other story, drabbles have a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

 

It is interesting to see that even in such a limited number of words, it contains twists and gives a surprise ending. It is crisp, entertaining, and fun to read. Due to its nature, it makes you read again and when you do that, you sometimes get a new understanding of it. 

 

Some of the best examples of a drabble are Symbiosis by Roy C Booth and Chad Fleagle; Life on the Dark Side of the Moon by Michael A. Kechula, etc.

 

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●     Flash Fiction 

 

Flash fiction is a very concise form of fictional work. It is also called a very short story. There are no fixed word counts for flash fiction. However, it can range anything between 280 characters to 1000 words.  It is written in such a way that its reading can be finished in four or five minutes. The other names of flash fiction are sudden fiction, short-short stories, microfiction, or microstories. 

 

Flash fiction is an entire story with a beginning, middle, and end. Good flash fiction has a surprise ending as well. Some of the best examples of flash fiction are discussed ahead to give you a brief idea of it. 

 

The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury is one of the most famous and classic examples of flash fiction. It is a 1445 word long story about a man’s wish to escape the glow of the television. 

 

A Telephonic Conversation by Mark Twain is another great example of flash fiction. This is a depiction of a wife’s telephonic conversation over a while her husband overhears only her part of the conversation.

 

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●     Mini Saga 

 

Mini saga is a story that is told exactly in 50 words. In a few words, the writer says a lot in his or her story. Mini sagas are also known by the names microstories, ultra-short stories, or fifty-word stories. 

 

These are mainly used as an educational tool, business leads, entertainment source, or a creative outlet. Mini sagas tend to be funny or surprising. Like other forms of writing, it does have a beginning, middle, and end. 

 

Mini sagas first appeared in an English newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph in 1982. Mini sagas are popular because they are short, crisp, and easy to read. From the learner’s or reader’s point of view, it is easy to understand and can be motivating as well. The same can be seen from many short motivational writings we come across.

 

Some of the best examples of mini sagas can be found online to read. If you go through them, you will understand why mini sagas are important. There are ‘n’ numbers of mini sagas. However, I do recommend you to Google “mini sagas examples” and read them to get a very good idea of the same. 

 

●     Story Sequence 

 

A story sequence is nothing but a collection of short stories presented in the form of a single book or a novel. However, please be clear that each story is a complete story in itself and none of them have any relation. Some of the greatest collections of short stories are written by famous writers like Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore, William Wordsworth. 

 

Now, as we have got the idea about short stories and different types of them, let us discuss some short story tips to enable you to produce your own stories. The below-mentioned tips are well-researched and can be very useful for you in your writing journey. Thus, let’s move ahead and discuss the tips. 

 

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6 Useful Short Story Tips

 

Writing a short story is not an easy task. Unlike the novel, you need to do justice to your story and its characters in a much lesser number of words. However, it does not mean that you can not be a good short story writer. 

 

Moreover, if you are writing short stories, then you can reach a large reader base. This is because short stories are small, a complete entertainment package, and less time-consuming. So, if you are motivated to write short stories and looking for some good tips then this article will be of great help to you. Now, let’s discuss the 6 tips.

 

1. Difference between a Short Story and a Novel

 

Even though a short story and a novel have many things in common, both are very different in their characteristics. First, let us point out the similarities. 

 

Both short stories and novels need to tell a story. Along with that, they need to be grammatically correct, easy to understand, and well organized. Also, both contain a start, progressing story, climax, and a good ending. 

 

Once the similarities are understood, it is very important to know the differences between them. While a novel is very lengthy, short stories have a word limit. You need to write your story in a very limited number of words. 

 

You need to cut down the unnecessary details and also focus on one or two main characters. It should be precise, simple, and yet deliver a meaningful and easily understandable story. This is one of the very important short story tips as it is a major difference. If it can’t be short enough, it can’t be a short story.

 

2. Find the Idea and Make an Outline

 

This is again one of the very important short story tips. It is important for you as a writer to know what you are going to write. As you need to have only one or two characters, you should create an outline of your story. 

 

You need to find the correct story and its character or characters accordingly. By outlining, you will be able to give words to your idea. 

 

Whatever story you wish to write, you need to understand how much importance you need to give to every detail and how you are going to present the same. This will help you to not lose track and stick to the true meaning of a short story.

 

3. Make an Attractive and Attention-Seeking Start

 

The start of your short story is very important. If the start is not good, you might not find a reader to continue reading your story. This is very important as a good and innovative start will attract the reader to start reading. 

 

If the start is boring and usual, the reader might think that the whole story is not good. Even though the next part of your story is good, he or she will not continue reading. This is because they will not move to the next part considering the same to be boring like your start. Thus a good start is one of the crucial short story tips for a writer.  

 

4. Make your Story Plot Obvious and Ensure your Start is Close to your End

 

You need to make your reader familiar with your story right from the beginning. Give them an idea of what your story is going to be at the beginning itself. If you are writing a murder mystery, give an indirect hint about the murderer in your story. The reader might easily predict the murder but he or she will continue reading your story with more enthusiasm. 

 

This is because after knowing the murderer, they would want to know why the murderer committed murder and how he was caught. This will keep your reader glued to your story. 

 

This purposely made obvious plot will make your reader get involved in the story. It is a sign of great writers that even after divulging the end of your story, they can make the reader continue reading with more keenness. Thus, to make your story intriguing, you need to follow this one of the best short story tips. 

 

5. Keep Writing, Keep Practicing

 

There are many short story tips that you will come across. However, one of the best short story tips that can ever be given is practice. 

 

To master the art of writing, you need to write consistently. To become a great writer, you need to write more. You can’t bring quality and improvement if you don’t write frequently. If you keep writing, keep practicing then you will learn from your mistakes, correct them and upgrade your writing skills. 

 

If you ask any successful writer, they will tell you that they had been writing a lot for quite a long time and on a daily basis before becoming so proficient and successful in their writing career. Hence, daily practice is very important to write a good short story.

 

6. Edit What You have Written

 

Editing is crucial for a writer. While writing your story, you might think that you have written a perfect story. However, it is not always the case and nobody is perfect. Even great and famous authors edit their writings a lot before making their writing available. 

 

Through editing, you read whatever you have written again and again. This helps you to remove unnecessary sentences and repetitive words. It also allows you to check if your story is on track and is the way you wanted it to be. 

 

Editing is like a filter that separates the unnecessary and not required details. So, editing is also one of the best short story tips to be followed.

 

The above discussed 6 best short story tips will help you to write better. If you follow these tips, you can make great improvements. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

1. What is a short story?

A short story is a concise form of writing and is simple to read. The length of a short story is below 10,000 words. Reading of a short story can be finished in a single sitting. There are only one or two main characters in it. 

It has everything that a proper, well-structured story of any length should have like a beginning, middle, climax, and end. Thus, it is smaller than a novel and less time-consuming to read. 

 

2. Is a short story worth reading?

 Yes. A short story is worth reading as you can easily finish it and that too in a very less time. Moreover, you get to read a story in very few words. 

Due to its simplicity and easy-to-understand nature, short stories have been gaining popularity. Moreover, many movies have been made based on various short stories. Hence, they become more interesting to read.

 

3. Can you please give some good examples of short stories?

Many great authors have written several short stories. For example, The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin, Gift of the Magi by O Henry, and The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.  

Apart from this, you can also read short stories by writers like William Wordsworth, Rabindranath Tagore, and Leo Tolstoy.

 

4. Do you need any special skills to write short stories?

You do not need to have any specific skills to start writing short stories. However, you need to have a good vocabulary and grammar. Apart from this, all you need to have is the passion to write. You also need to be imaginary and think out of the box to bring out unique stories to give new stories to readers.

 

Conclusion

 

The above article has explained to you about short stories and tips to write them. These short story tips will help you in your journey of short story writing. There are many things mentioned above that need to be kept in mind before writing. 

 

Most importantly, if you want to write well then you need to be consistent and committed. Also, it is equally important to implement the short story tips given for better writing. 

 

And lastly, enjoy the process. If you can’t enjoy your writing then there are high chances that your readers will also not like it. Thus, develop a passion for writing, follow details and start writing. Do not forget that writing practice is very important. If you are not practicing, you can’t improve. 

I am a Banker by profession. Passionate about writing and reading. Guest blogger at IIM Skills.

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