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Author: Ben Parker
How to write a great short story
The process of writing a short story differs each time. It depends on the idea, the facts that the writer has, time limits and the level of the inspiration at the particular moment, to name a few. Each time you start writing a new short story, be prepared that you will embark on a completely new experience. With time and practice, creating new pieces of work become easier and easier; however, you can still face difficulties even when you are writing your fifty-seventh short story. Check out some of our tips on how to make a process of writing a short story easier.
1. Write down your story
It is a typical situation that a narrator has an idea of what he would like to write about, but he does not know how to start. As a first step, you need to write down your thoughts without thinking about any small details. At this stage, all you need to do is to produce a draft of your story. The text might be illogical and it might look like it lacks purpose, but the main rule is not to analyze what you come up with. Do not feel embarrassed about how imperfect your writing looks so far. You will have many chances to polish your story while going through the next steps.
2. Figure out a protagonist
Usually, a protagonist is a nice person who is subjected to some sort of unfair behavior or who has to deal with the unpleasant circumstances. However, let’s not forget that a short story must be intriguing. The person who is responsible for all the decision-making and who makes the plot develop is the one who gives the story a meaning. That is to say, a protagonist does not necessarily have to be a positive individual.
3. Write the first line
The first line is something that can define the success of your story. You either catch the attention of the reader and make him want to know more, or your story will be an unread thing of the past. Sometimes assembling the first line can take as long as the writing of the whole story. That is fine, as the importance of an introductory sentence cannot be overstated. Take your time and make sure that you hook your reader’s attention from the very beginning, leaving him with no choice but to read further.
4. Create a scene list
Very often a story is made of several scenes. It might be helpful to make a list of scenes in order to keep track of what you write making sure you do not miss any details in terms of place and time of the settings. There is no need to follow the outlined steps exactly, but a brief scene list will help you not get lost if you decide to write in several sittings.
5. Do the research
Now, this is the time when you need to make a research on the topic of your story. It is an important stage, but we have intentionally avoided making it a beginning step of the writing process. In a draft, you have managed to express your idea in your very unique and personalized way. Doing research at the very beginning can make you lose your main focus and new things that you have learned can distort your initial vision that you would like to share with.
6. Edit and proofread
Your short story is almost ready and now it needs a thorough editing and proofreading. If the time limits allow, stop working and put away your piece of writing for some time. Get back to it later and check it out for errors. Rereading with a fresh mind will help spot grammatical and semantical mistakes faster if to compare with the time when you work on your story for several hours. It is also very helpful to show your writing to your colleague or a friend. They might spot errors which are apparent to unbiased readers and which are not so obvious to the writer himself.
7. Publish your work
You need to understand that your work is finished only when it is published. It does not have to appear in the famous magazines, but your story definitely needs to be seen by the world. Make sure your creation is publicized, at least in order to get feedback and know where you can get better. Perhaps your story can inspire and change someone’s life, so it is unfair to hide it from your readers.
Writing a short story can be as complicated as creating a two-hundred-page novel. Follow our quick guidelines and practice them each time you write a short story and you will be able to effectively share your unique view of the world and have fun creating your own best story.