As an editor I don’t get to write many stories, but I sure love to read them and I also to get to edit them. However, I have taken quite a few creative writing courses and one word can sum up how to write a short story: RELAX.
First Step – Make an outline
One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to sit at the computer and try to write a tale from beginning to end. You have to plan out your story. Rather than spend hours staring at the computer screen, humbled in frustration, make a simple quick outline. They’re easy to understand and you can even find templates for your word processor to help you organize your thoughts. Write out the plot and use that as a basis to make up the rest. It may be help to write out some of the more complicated scenes
Second Step – Develop your characters
Who is your main character? Knowing a name and that she has blond wavy hair is not as important as real fears, wants, and desires. Remember that the life you breathe into character will not only carry the story, it was also lets your readers know that you have a stake in what you have written.
Third Step – Set the scene
Use a lot of detail in the introduction of your story. You want your reader to feel the environment and see it in their minds eye. While there may not be space for this in every short story, some writers can still do it in a successful way. Here are some things to keep in mind when you creating your scene.
- Walk yourself through the scene. Be your character as they walk through it. What do you say, think, do, and feel?
- Know where things are. You want the area to be consistent so that your readers will always have a feeling they know where they are.
Step Four – Simple tips to get the story flowing
- If the story has a principal narrator, that character can start off by rambling into the setting, relating everything to the reader in a kind of nonchalant, casual way.
- Write the parts of the story that you know. If you can’t begin the story, why not start in the middle?
- Get to some action quickly. Many seasoned writers are finding that the attention span of the average audience has changed over time, getting quick action into the beginning of a story is more important than ever to keep reader interested.
- Let the words flow as you write an early draft of a story. Type your heart out. Don’t go back and edit. Type what comes to mind and then read it. You may be surprised how much you like it.