You wake up one day, and suddenly you have an idea for a story. Maybe you read an article about the trials and tribulations of being a freelance ghost writer, and it got you thinking about what it would be like to do that for a living. Or maybe you’ve just finished a draft of a novel, and now you’re stuck with the problem of trying to find an agent and/or publisher to take a look at it. Either way, you’re faced with a situation where you have an idea for a story, but you don’t necessarily have the talent to pull it off. Or do you?
Inevitably, this problem will weigh you down. If you’re looking for an outlet, however, I have some good news for you. All you need is a pen, a piece of paper, and a willingness to put down what you have in mind. With that, you will find the formula for pulling off the perfect short story, even if you’ve never done so. So let’s get started.
Step one: Take out your pen
Step one is the most crucial step. You must have your pen out before you start writing. If you’re using an electronic pen, take the time to recharge it or at least get a fresh battery. Not only will this make a difference in the smoothness of your writing, but it will keep you from having to go back and edit at the end. When you’re writing, you should never have to pause to think about whether or not you are going to write the next word correctly. This can often cause unintentional errors, which you will have to go back and edit. Having a pen out makes it much easier to just start writing and seeing where things go. It’s also crucial that you have a physical copy of the story before you start, either in handwritten form or in a word processor with clean, uncorrrupted data. There are several benefits to setting things down on paper rather than just in your head. First of all, it is more convenient to refer to what you’ve written rather than to have to go back and look it up. Second, you can add illustrations and elaborate on certain points that might otherwise be difficult to understand. Third, you have an opportunity to rearrange and revise things as you see fit, without being bound by any particular word count or narrative structure. Fourth, it is possible to add new details that you might not have thought of before. Fifth, it’s a great way to get a feel for how a specific character or elements would play out in real life. Finally, having a physical copy means that you can feel more confident in expressing your ideas in written form. With that, let’s continue.
Step two: Start at the beginning
You must write the best story you can, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect. The important thing is that it is original, unique, and interesting. For a short story, you will most likely have to go back and revise a few times before you are completely satisfied with the end product. As I mentioned before, you can add more detail and make changes as you see fit, so long as you keep the basic plot intact. When you have an idea for a story, it is crucial that you start at the beginning and work your way forward. This will make everything seem much more coherent and will likely give you a clearer idea of where the story is going. If you can, try to start a few days or weeks in the past, and slowly work your way to the present day. This will help you avoid some of the common problems that plague most writers, especially those who are just starting out. For one, you can start writing, and as you get more comfortable, you can gradually add more details and expand on certain points that you’ve already written about. Another important point to make is that the farther back you go, the more detailed and interesting your writing will be. If you have a specific character or element in mind that you would like to write about, you can start there or pick a specific scene from your life that has caused you to think about that character or element. For instance, if you have a funny, quirky character named Walter, who sometimes finds himself in awkward situations, you might want to start there and build a story around him. Then, as you work your way forward in time, you can add more detail and develop the character further. You will find that as you get more comfortable with writing, your stories will get better and better. This is mainly because you’ll be paying more attention to detail, making grammatical and spelling errors less likely to happen. With that, let’s continue.
Step three: Include important details
After you have written the first draft, you must go back and add more details. It is very easy for an idea to form in your head, and while it might be very interesting and creative, it might not necessarily be the best story. To prove this point, let’s take a look at an example of a perfectly crafted short story by Roald Dahl. The only difference between this story and any other is that Roald Dahl included many important details that add a certain authenticity to the story. This was particularly important while writing about children, since this is a topic that he was very familiar with. Roald Dahl was a master of creating complicated plots for children, but he also knew how to simplify things so that even the youngest readers could understand. The plot is relatively simple: a little girl whose mother is sick meets a beautiful stranger who gives her an amazing gift. Unfortunately, this gift comes with a price, because the girl’s father is very angry about this. So the story continues with the girl trying to protect her father from getting hurt. As you can probably tell, this is a very simplified version of the story, but it still contains all the essential elements. The most crucial and important detail to include is the one about the father. You need to remember that parents will be the ones judging you as you write the story, since children are unable to discern right from wrong. This means that you might have to change a few things about the way the story is told, but the fundamentals should be there. As a best practice, it might be a good idea to write down short stories for your friends and family to read, and ask for feedback. By including important details, you will make sure that even those who are not familiar with creative writing will still be able to follow the story. With that, let’s continue.
Step four: Take your time
Writing a short story is a lot different from writing a novel. With a novel, you have the luxury of taking your time and going over every detail, making sure that you have the right language and the right characters. With a short story, you have to make sure that everything is correct and fits within the constraints of the form. You must take your time, and you must make sure that everything is correct. To give you an idea of how much time it takes to write a short story, let’s look at the example above. It starts out quite simply, with the girl waking up, getting dressed, and going to school. After she gets her backpack, she remembers that she has a big science project to do that evening. This gives her the opportunity to run home and get her science supplies, which she does. While she is there, her mother gets a call from work, and so she has to leave to take care of it. While her mother is at work, the girl reads the newspaper, gets her homework done, and cooks dinner – all before her father gets home from work. After dinner, they have ice cream, and the girl helps her father with his work by processing some of the bills he needs to process. This takes a while, and when her father locks the door to his office, she gets nervous and starts to wonder what will happen if she stays out after school. She thinks about what will happen if her parents find out she is staying out later than they allow, and so she decides to go home. As you can see, this is a pretty short story. Even if you are using a lot of big words or trying to be very creative, you should still be able to come up with something that is about 300 to 500 words. It would be a good idea to write down your stories, and see how many you can come up with. If you can’t think of anything, it might be a good idea to write about something that has happened in your life recently (preferably something that you can put into words). Finally, one more thing about writing a short story: make sure that you have a specific purpose for writing it. Think about what you are trying to say, and make sure that your story addresses that issue. Sometimes, a short story can be used to explore a particular problem that the writer is facing. This could be a story about a struggling writer, or a story about a young girl who wants to be accepted by her peers. Whatever it is that you are trying to say, make sure that your story will help your readers understand. This might mean rethinking the entire story, or simply changing a few details here and there. The bottom line is that you must have a clear purpose behind writing the story, and everything else will fall into place naturally.