Mastering the art of short story writing might seem hard for those who are just starting their writing career or who want to learn how to write a short story.
If you search for tips and workshops on the Internet on “How to write a short story?” you will find plenty of them. And trust me, most of them will benefit you. You will find great tips and probably use them but don’t forget that we are not robots and that our differences contribute to how and in what way we will use those tips to write our short stories. You might remember the advice and experiences of those who gave you advice but you don’t have to completely stick to them. Or at least, you may adjust them to your own personality, habits and skills.
Every short story usually has an introduction, plot and conclusion but very often, we will find experimental pieces which start in the middle of the plot and end with the beginning. Honestly, even though there are some rules and styles one believes should be followed and respected when writing a short story is concerned, breaking those rules and not sticking to the proposed styles can also be beneficial. It might put you into the center of attention as an innovative writer, not afraid to experiment, and make a hit out of your story.
However, your story has to be interesting and captivating, have a gripping plot that arouses curiosity and makes a reader keep reading. It should have charming characters which might be heroes or villains or just ordinary non-grouped people capable of invoking empathy, sympathy, or just capable of bringing the reader to the state of wanting to know or learn more about them. The curiosity is important factor. And if your story does not make the reader curious, he or she will probably not finish reading your story.
Many articles will advise you to make a thorough plan of how you want your story to look like which means putting down the ideas about introduction, plot and ending. This is definitely a great idea. Since once you have organized your process of writing, the writing process itself might be easier, but not necessarily. Many writers will confirm that they started with the clear idea of what they wanted their story to look like and be about and they ended up writing the story that had nothing to do with their initial idea and plan. Sometimes, maybe more often than we think, we start writing something and engrossed in the writing process, under the influence of different motivators, burst of strange ideas and impact of the environment itself, we change the course of our story and write something completely new and unplanned.
Therefore, even though the great idea might motivate us to write the story, the inspiration we get during the process of writing might lead us to change the idea.
The action and plot of the story are very important. We will all agree that they have to be interesting. And even though, many people will tell you that they prefer reading a story with great plot with a lot of happenings and less descriptive parts, if your descriptive parts are amazing and cause surprise or wonder, you will gain the admirers of your descriptions. It is not always the action that keeps attention and is compelling, description can be equally engrossing and absorb all the reader’s attention.
Your language is very important. However, the type of the story you are writing will decide if you will use a lot of slang or write your story in a bit more formal style. Anyway, making sure you don’t make some serious grammar mistakes, too many typos, use very offensive words will give better chance that your story will be accepted and liked. No editor likes too many mistakes. And often, even the best editors omit to correct some of the writer’s mistakes. Therefore, make sure you read your story a couple of times. Reading it few times might also bring you some ideas of improving certain parts of it. Often, writers say that only after sleeping over and reading the story all over again with the fresh eyes and brain, they get the idea how to improve certain parts of their story and make it more compelling.
Writer’s block is a condition certain writers claim to suffer from once in a while. However, the others claim that they have never experienced it. Due to a lack of motivation, your poor health condition, life disappointments, you might experience it. But you don’t have to. Some writers say that the best way to get rid of it and overcome it is to stop writing for some time, to start doing something else, find some interesting hobbies, do sports etc. On the other hand, some other writers say that this writer’s block can be cured by more writing. Writing anything, no matter if those are letters, postcards, blogs, diaries can help you to get back to your writer’s daily life.
Following the trend of writing doesn’t mean you will be successful. If science fiction is a hit, it doesn’t mean that your science fiction will be successfully accepted by the editors and readers. If you are not big fan of science fiction, there is a great chance that your science fiction stories will not be that good. Try to find your own style and write what you like to read. Doing what you like is a guarantee to success. You will probably put more efforts and more love into what you are writing than writing about something that you personally don’t really enjoy.
Plagiarism is the most hated tool or mis-tool in the writing circles. And stealing someone else’s ideas, plots, characters is not better than stealing someone’s wallet, bag or breaking into someone else’s house and stealing pieces of furniture. Your ideas, your characters and your plots are your own invention and they are your property and sharing them with other people has the aim to educate, entertain, inform and train them. But other people are not and they can’t be their owners now or ever. Also, you can’t become the owner of someone else’s story or idea. And if you can’t come up with your own story, you probably don’t deserve to be called a “writer”.
Writing a short story might seem complicated. But honestly it is not that hard. If you love writing, you will with the help of all these tips and many others find your own way to write your first short story. And even if it is not great, and if other people don’t like it that much, don’t be desperate. Keep writing. Eventually, by writing and reading more and more, you will master the skill of writing a short story.