Since the time we are born, stories have been a part of our lives. When we were kids, we used to listen to stories about fairies, knights in shining armor, beauty and the beast, princes and princesses, and so on. As we grew up, the genre of stories changed from fairytales to fiction, be it mystery, thriller, romantic, philosophical, biographical, and so on. Though there are so many people who love to read stories, very few of them are able to write them. Writing stories is an art, inherent in some and acquired by many. But first of all you need to understand what a short story is. It is defined as a work of fiction or imagination, written in an easily understandable, grammatical structure and with natural flow of speech. Since a short story is meant to be read in a single sitting, it should be as brief and direct as possible. The focus should be more on the turning point of the story or a decisive moment in the life of the character. If you are also interested in writing short stories and are looking for tips and ideas on the same, read the following lines.
Tips On Writing Short Stories
- First of all, you need to decide on the narrative view that you will take for the story. A story can be written in first person, through a detached narrator who presents a single character's thoughts and observations or a detached narrator who presents thoughts & observations of all characters.
- Next step will comprise of creating the protagonist i.e. the main character. In majority of the cases, the protagonist will be the most sympathetic character in the story.
- Now, you will have to create a problem or conflict for your protagonist. This conflict can take one of five basic forms: person vs. person, person vs. himself or herself, person vs. nature, person vs. society and or person vs. God or fate. In the first case i.e. person vs. person conflict, you will have to create an antagonist also.
- Thereafter, comes the time to develop the other characters of the story, along with settings. You will have to give vivid descriptions of the personality of the characters and establish their dialogues too.
- Start building the story, through the protagonist's failed attempts to solve or overcome the problem. If the story is intended to be very short, you can skip this step.
- Now comes the time to create a crisis, which makes it essential for the protagonist to solve his or her problem and is also the last chance of any solution coming up.
- Finally, it is the climax of the story, where the tension reaches its peak. The protagonist will solve the problem using his or her positive attributes, like intelligence, creativity, courage, etc. With this, the story comes to an end.
- You can also create an epilogue, narrating how the protagonist is living happily after getting over the conflict. This might also be a reflection on the action of the story and its significance to the characters or society.
Short Stories Writing Ideas
- Inspiration is the biggest tool here. Without it, you would be driven to write anything. Carry a notepad wherever you go, because inspiration can come to you at any point and it is crucial to note down points or thoughts that come to your mind. This collection of ideas will help build a story.
- Organize these ideas roughly. These are the basics of story writing. You need to think about an introduction, the initial action, the character(s), the intensifying action, the climax and the ending.
- Character building in short stories is brief but needs very neat work. Character has to be clear and fathomable in the first go. Remember, the reader does not have time to read more than once, therefore, the character has be etched in his mind the first time he reads about it.
- Make your characters believable. Do not create unrealistic characters, which may confuse or worse, annoy the readers. It is a difficult task to make real characters, with whom people can relate to, but nonetheless, achievable. Farfetched characters are less likely to appeal to people’s minds. For this, you have to think from the perspective of your character. For instance, if the protagonist is an IT employee, you need contemplate on how an average IT guy/girl spends his/her life. Choose easy and simple characters with whom you can connect to and write about them.
- Now it’s time to organize your thoughts. Once the basic elements have been decided upon, start writing. As you write, ideas will come flooding your mind as to what would happen next. This is a baffling moment for writers. Of all the thoughts that come to you, you have to pick the one which befits the story. Sit back and take some time before deciding on the next course of action. Let the story write itself because as you write, you may be tempted to change the plot or remove a character or two, thus, changing the whole set up. This is where you ought to listen to your characters and think in their manner.
The whole point of any story is to amuse the readers. A short story especially, has to be catchy, so as to engage the readers at once. People read novels during their spare time or at intervals. But a short story is read with the intention of completing it in a short span of time. People generally read them while travelling to office or at a coffee table while on a break, etc. Hence, it needs to serve the purpose for which it is written, i.e. to entertain the readers in the least possible time.