Short stories are the stepping stone to writing full-fledged novels. Any aspiring writer who has learned how to write powerful short stories (typically over 1000 words that can go up to 10,000 words) can progress to write a novel. Unlike full-fledged novels, short stories focus on just one theme/aspect. It has limited characters and scenes to describe the entire thought.
The style and narration in short stories vary from writer to writer. Everyone has a different interpretation and thought process, so everyone writes differently. You can hire professional book writing services to write a promising short story that sells. The expert writers will craft the best compelling story using their tried and tested methods.
1. Develop a Strong Idea
Everything starts with an idea, and so do the stories. A strong and well-developed idea, even an ordinary one, can be transformed into a killer short story. Although you can use anything to draw inspiration from, the best is the one that comes naturally to you because you can quickly bring it to life and make it striking.
Following are some ways to get inspiration for ideas for short stories.
- Personal experiences that have impacted you in any way
- Use prompts and practice writing daily
- Go out and note down if you find anything interesting enough to write something about
- Consume media from various genres to broaden your perspective
- Pay attention to news and current events to know what’s going on
- Note how other people act and behave in certain situations
- Dreams and daydreaming can be a great way to capture ideas
- Go out in nature and observe it
- Pick up conversations with friends and strangers to get to know different viewpoints, stances, and thought processes.
- Pick prompts from the visual stimuli. For instance, TV shows, images, videos, and artworks.
2. Dive Start Right into The Main Conflict
In short stories, most of the time, there is no need to explain the background of every scene and every character. So begin your story right from the main point. And then navigate toward the ending promptly. Every line and paragraph should lead toward the final showdown. If you have a word count, you can throw some twists here and there, but it is optional.
You can build the tension along the way and then give a final, satisfying resolution to the raised stakes.
3. Write Limited Characters and Settings
You do not have space to explain 4 fully crafted characters and 12 different scenes with every intricate detail. Having just a protagonist with a supporting character or an antagonist is ideal. Or sometimes, you don’t need to have multiple characters. If the conflict is weaved around something abstract, like any catastrophe, trial of life, or hardship, you don’t even need to place an antagonist. Just one character will do fine.
Plus, repeating familiar settings is the best approach since you don’t have to explain it again and again in the story. If you need assistance writing an excellent fiction piece that leaves an impact, a professional ghost book writer can do a perfect job for you. These professional writers have all the tools tips and techniques to craft an engaging story that will surely leave the readers amazed. You just have to provide them with a basic plot, characters, or setting to expand on. And they will do the rigorous work from idea generation to writing the final draft at an affordable rate.
4. Create an Outline if Necessary
Whether you are a plotter or panster, creating an outline always helps. If you don’t want to carve out every little detail, you can at least design it in your mind.
You might not need a proper outline to write a short fiction piece; brainstorming possibilities for “what comes next” will be enough.
In other words, you should know the story’s beginning, climax, and ending, and you are good to go. As you write, you will gain more clarity and ideas.
Following is a brief guide to creating an outline for short stories:
- Identify the central idea and decide on the main characters
- Create the appropriate settings/environment
- Design events or scenes
- Develop the point of climax
- Write a clear resolution
- Give proper closure to the characters and conflicts
- Add a twist in the last section if applicable
You can tweak the outline process according to your writing style.
5. Write The First Draft and Set It Aside
The first draft is not meant to be perfect; it is intended to be written because you can’t edit the empty page anyway. The key is to write the first draft as fast as possible and then leave it for a while. Returning to it with fresh eyes will help you identify the shortcomings and loopholes you might have missed in the first writing session.
Here are some tips for writing the first draft properly:
- Brainstorm and outline the short story
- Establish a writing routine and follow it
- You may be urged to make the edits as you go, but it is not advised by the experts. Better writing the entire draft first and then make edits.
- After completing the first draft, keep it aside and don’t read it for a few days.
- Return to it with a new perspective and start editing it.
Another thing to remember is that you don’t need to judge your skills from your first draft. Experts say that writing is all about rewriting. And when you follow the steps to write the first draft properly, you get a better version as compared to others.
6. Edit and Revise
Now you have written drafts for your story, start editing them mercilessly. Chop out any extra details, adjectives, adverbs, or sentences that feel useless. Every sentence should have a purpose; don’t hesitate to remove it if it is not leading anywhere. If the entire scene is not serving any purpose, consider deleting it entirely.
These are some points you should check once you complete the story and give it a final touch.
- Check the pacing of the story. If it feels dragging, make it concise and fast.
- Look for any incoherent section that does not fit with the story
- Check character development and dialogues. Edit them to the point that they look natural.
- Add sensory details in a subtle yet powerful manner. Plus, they should be essential for the scene. Cut them off from the story if they do not serve any purpose.
- Do the line edit at the end. Look for any punctuation marks or grammar issues and rectify them to make it ready as a final draft.
- Check for character arcs and the flow of the story.
- Check if the promised theme and message are conveyed. Look for ambiguity and remove it.
- Check if you can heighten or tone down the emotions. Make the changes that suit best to the plot.
7. Final Proofreading and Publishing
Final proofreading is crucial if you want to make the draft flawless and perfect for submission. For that, take a long break from the draft and return to read it with a clear mind. Many experts suggest reading the manuscript aloud to catch any possible errors.
Check the consistency. Is the language flowing correctly, or does the reading feel choppy? Make the necessary edits to make it progress smoothly. Look for typos and minute errors. Better to get your peers and seniors on board for a second opinion.
Once you are satisfied with the quality, hit submit. Or go for the self-publishing route if that’s your plan.
Bonus: Some Cool Short Story Ideas You Can Use Today
Here are some interesting ready-to-use short story ideas to ignite your imagination and creativity.
- A group of children finds a ghost in the basement
- A writer discovers a new dimension with his book
- A magical book that can capture the reader into its world
- Futuristic plot where dreams can be recorded and shared
- A time traveler from another time stuck in another dimension.
- A futuristic dystopian world where AI has taken over, and now humans are working for robots.
- A land where dreams are considered a currency.
- A home that is destroyed in the apocalypse.
- A young girl’s drawings come to life.
- A scientist accidentally builds a doorway to another universe, then things deteriorate.
- A magical discovery that restores all the extinct animals and plants to life
Writing a short story requires dedication and enough practice. According to a few opinions, short stories are much more challenging than novel writing because you condense a book’s content into a few pages. However, proper guidelines like creating a timeline, setting a small cast, and limiting the settings can significantly improve.
Canny Book Writers are the experts when it comes to novel writing, short fiction writing, or any other kind of writing and editing you need. You can hire expert services to write any type of book you want. They will get your work done with precision and accuracy at affordable rates, and your book will be among the best-selling ones.
Also read: Boosting Your Memory For Better Exam Results