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Home » How to Write a Short Story – 3 Tips to Get Started

How to Write a Short Story – 3 Tips to Get Started

A short story is generally considered to be a piece of writing that is written in a shorter amount of time than a novel. These stories are usually between 1000 and 2000 words in length. Most often they are humorous tales that poke fun at social issues or contemporary society. A collection of short stories is generally referred to as a Short Story Collection or Shorts Collection. Here are some tips to get you started writing that short story you have always wanted to write.

Pick A Genre

The first thing you should do is decide on the genre of your short story. You have a few options here: satirical comedy, science fiction, futuristic fantasy, or horror. If you go for a satirical comedy, you can write about anything that you feel is funny or makes you laugh. For instance, if you are a woman and you feel that women are generally treated unfairly in the media, you can write about how your life is like a fair isle sweater; warm and fuzzy while also ironic and with dark streaks.

If you go for a science fiction story, you should pick an older technology that is still relevant today. For example, ‘Back to the Future’ is set in 2019 and features a lot of computer technology that is relevant to this day and age. You can also choose to set your story in the near future or far away in outer space.

Futuristic fantasy stories are, well, a combination of science fiction and fantasy elements. For example, ‘Dragon Rider’ mixes Medieval and Asian mythology with a very futuristic setting and feel. Your settings and characters should still feel accessible to readers from a variety of experience levels.

Lastly, you can pick a horror story. These are typically stories where the main character is scared of something or gets traumatized by a past event. The writing style should reflect the fear and horror that you intend for your audience to feel when reading your work. Keep in mind that not all horror stories are created equal; some are quite humorous in comparison to others. Thoroughly investigate any and all literary elements that form the basis of your story. With a little bit of research, you will have a clear picture of what is important to include and what needs to be left out.

Know Your Main Character

After you have chosen a genre, you should move on to figuring out who your main character is going to be. This is the person that the audience should identify with most in your story. The protagonist is generally the leading character and is the individual, or group of individuals, who experience the story. Your protagonist should be relatable regardless of your chosen genre. They should be someone that the audience can relate to in some way. Your protagonist should be proactive and have reasonable goals in the story. They should not be indecisive or passive and should display an ability to take action, even if it is seemingly small. Your protagonist should feel like a real person and should behave in a manner that is consistent with how people in general would behave.

Create A Setting

When I say setting, I mean the environment in which your story takes place. This is where you decide what city, town, region, or planet you will use as a backdrop for your story. If you are writing a horror story, you might want to pick a remote area of a famous city to represent urban living in general. Perhaps the town is small and quiet, but still has enough going on to feel like a real place.

As for the planet, if you go with a science fiction story, you might want to choose a distant Earth with spaceships and lasers. Your setting should reflect the type of story you are writing. If you are writing a satire, then you might want to go for something darker, like an industrial wasteland or a post-apocalyptic Earth. It is all about how you present yourself to your audience and what kind of feeling you want them to have when reading your story.

Make It Stand Out

A good short story will stand out simply because it is short. This does not mean that it has to be formulaic in any way, but rather that it should possess a hook that will make the reader want more. The most effective way to do this is by using alliteration and rhyme. If you are writing a story in iambic pentameter, go for it!

These elements will make your story sound more professional and literary. If you want to really stand out, you can use alliteration and rhyme in your headings, subheadings, and other organizational elements of your story. It is the perfect way to make your work jump off the page.

These are just a few tips to get you started writing that short story you have always wanted to write. As for the story itself, do your best to create a world that is interesting and unique. Do not be afraid to take a chance and experiment with language or put words in a new context. As long as you believe in your story, followed by action, followed by resolution, then you will be on the right track to creating a quality piece that will appeal to your audience. Good luck out there!