How to Write a Short Story

Updated Nov 5, 2022

How to Write a Short Story

Write from the heart

Write from the heart and let your emotions guide the words on the page. When you’re writing a short story, you have to be able to succinctly convey the emotion of your character or you risk losing the reader. Remember, you’re writing for the reader as well as yourself, so think about what will make them feel what your character is feeling. We often make the mistake of thinking that our characters are static or archetypal, but they are human and they are feeling people. So, write from the heart and let your emotions flow through your characters. Let your readers feel what you’re feeling.

Pack a punch

A short story is a compact piece of work. It may have a short running time, but it should pack a powerful punch. Your goal is to make your audience feel something. When writing a short story, it is important to remember that it is more about the feelings than the plot. The plot is what keeps the story going, but it is the feelings that allow a short story to stick with readers long after finishing.

A short story is a good place to focus on a single emotion, such as hope or regret. You can also zero in on a few emotions and use them to paint a picture of what your character is going through. This can help the audience empathize with your character and create an emotional connection.

Find the main point and focus on it

Short stories can be a bit tricky because most of the time, the writer wants to give the reader all the details and create a story, but then keep it relatively short. So the best tip is to find your main point and focus on that. Also, try and keep the characters limited, it’s best to have a few but not too many. Develop your characters enough that the reader can connect with them, but not so much that they’re drawn out and need a novel.

With a short story, it’s best to find your one point and develop the characters to show how they are affected by it. Focus on the point and the characters, and the short story will come out just fine.

Include an unexpected twist

The best advice for writing a short story is to always make it a priority to include an unexpected twist. Readers are always looking for entertainment, whether it’s a novel or a short story. The more twists and turns you throw in, the more likely your story is to get praise from your readers.

Make your story as unpredictable as possible. You don’t want the plot to seem too easy to guess. Your story should live up to the reader’s expectations by being full of suspense.

You can achieve this by introducing a plot twist or surprising them with a new detail. With a little creativity, you can write a short story that has readers on the edge of their seats and eagerly turning pages to discover the outcome.

Plan your ending beforehand

Short stories are often much more plot driven than novels, so in order to keep the reader’s attention, you need to make sure your plot is strong. Have a strong idea of where the plot is going, and be able to write an ending that leads the story logically.

Make sure your ending is not predictable, but also be sure it flows with the rest of the story. Many short stories are written around a single plot point, so make sure you’re able to execute that point well and tie up the story with a satisfying end.

Tie up any loose ends in your plot

You want to engage the reader, so start with an attention-grabbing first sentence and end with a clear resolution. You don’t need to write the whole story in chronological order. Use flashbacks, cutaways, and multiple viewpoints to keep your story dynamic.

Be sure to use detail, even if it’s just as simple as mentioning a soda can in the corner of a room. It’s the little details that really bring a setting to life for the reader. And if your characters are interesting, complex, and relatable, your story will be more engaging.

Remember to keep your story simple and avoid clichés. And have fun with it!

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