How to Write Short Stories

Short stories are definitely quite a bit shorter and easier to finish in a shorter amount of time. They are also good small projects to do in between your bigger projects.Writing, short stories, Devin Berglund, amwriting

If you didn’t see last week’s post “7 Secrets To Getting Your Novel Beta Reader Ready be sure to check it out. I have a free editable document – a beta reader questionnaire. Here is the link.

Have you ever wanted to write a short story? Writing short stories is actually a lot of fun, but they can also be a lot of work. I actually find them a lot harder than writing a novel.

“But, Devin… isn’t a short story, supposed to be easier? Since it’s shorter?”

Not exactly. All writing can be hard, but just like writing long, writing short can really grow you as a writer. It will help you write more concise sentences. I like to think about it kind of like Twitter. With Twitter, you can only Tweet 140 characters. When writing a Tweet, I end up having to get rid of quite a few  words, to get the right amount.

That is just like with writing short stories. You have to cut unneeded words in order to have the best story possible. Sometimes fewer words tell your story better.

Before, I get on a rabbit trail about editing. You have to know that there are three important parts to a short story.

  1. Character
  2. Conflict
  3. SettingWriting, short stories, Devin Berglund, amwriting

Usually, writers only focus on one or two characters while writing short stories. It can be tough for readers to follow switches between a bunch character’s point of views in a short story. It can get tricky.

For example we will use Little Red Riding Hood. Who doesn’t love this story?

  1. Character– Little Red
  2. Conflict– While in the forest, Little Red comes upon a wolf who wants to eat her. And she tells him where she is going. (oh, ohh!)
  3. Setting– Forest/Grandma’s house

You can see the outcome coming at you pretty easily here, especially when you list the story out like this.

How Long Is A Short Story?

Writing short stories can be fun, but it can also be tougher at times, because you have to tell a good story in fewer words.

6-Word-Story: 

“For Sale: Baby shoes. Never Worn.” – Ernest Hemingway

Micro fiction: up to 100 words

Flash Fiction: up to 1,000 words usually.

Short Story: up to 8,000 or so words.

But, I don’t know what to write about?

This happens to everyone, once in a while.

There are many ways to get inspiration to write a short story. I want to share with you something that I do when I need inspiration to write stories. Long and short.

Pictures.

Illustrations.

Photography.

I AM GREATLY INSPIRED BY PHOTOS.

But, who isn’t… right?

I am going to walk you through the process I would take to write a short story.

Characters

1.) Go find an inspiring picture or illustration of a person, animal, robot, or unicorn. Really, it can be anything.

Since you have your character, now you have to ask yourself some questions:

• “Who is your character?”
• “What kind of world do they live in?”

Now, We Need Conflict

Every story needs conflict.

In Little Red Riding Hood, when the wolf kills Red’s grandma and disguises himself as her grandma = conflict.

2.) Find a photo or illustration showing conflict.

Now, use the “Character” & “Conflict” photos together

• “What is the conflict?”

• “Who or what is the conflict maker?”

Setting

3.) Find a photo or illustration that shows the setting you want to create.

Now, put all three of the pictures you chose side by side.

• “What is the story?”
• “Who is the character/s you are going to focus on?”
• “And what is the conflict?”
• “What does the world look like?”

Looking at creative photography always helps me get out of the “I don’t know what to write about” rut.

There are stories all around us. You just have to find them and then tell them. The World needs your story & your words.

What kind of short stories do you like to write?

 


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8 thoughts on “How to Write Short Stories”

    1. Hello Christa,

      Thanks for reading and also for commenting. I am glad you’ve found the post helpful and that you are planning on writing a short story. 🙂 It’s an exciting journey. Have fun with it. Hope you have a great Monday! 🙂

    1. I am so glad you found my blog too!! And I am super happy you’ve been finding the posts helpful. 🙂 Be sure to let me know if there is ever a topic or a question you’d like covered and I can look into posting something about it. 🙂 Have a great Monday and rest of the week.

    1. Hello Carroll,

      Thank you for reading and also for commenting. I am super glad you found this post helpful for future stories! How exciting! That is so cool that you and your husband write short stories for fun! Have an amazing time writing short stories. 🙂

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