Telling a Tale in a Few Words: A Guide to the Process of Writing Short Stories

Telling a Tale in a Few Words: A Guide to the Process of Writing Short Stories

The less there is of something, the more meaningful it becomes. That’s how the world works. For instance, this is true when it comes to natural diamonds; the rarity of the diamond leads to its high price. This also holds true when applied to a workforce. If the force is a skeleton crew, then each member of the team is allotted more responsibility simply because there are fewer bodies to pitch in and help out.

Words are no exception. Storytelling is an art form, but there is something to be said about those who write short stories, for writing a captivating narrative in a limited amount of words is an art form all of its own. A writer who has learned to convey beautiful scenes and tangible emotion in only a few words is a writer who has mastered the ability to be concise. When you are concise, you can say less with more, making your writing sound more professional. Concise writing is easily digested because weak words and rambling sentences are eliminated.

How can you write compelling short stories that leave a lasting impact?

A short story has the potential to be just as powerful as its burlier cousin, the novel—but just because a story is short does not mean that it is concise or powerful by default. Great thought must go into the balance between word count and content. Thought must also be put into making space for themes and other literary devices. Planning ahead is critical when it comes to writing short stories. The most successful short stories are those whose author places every word on the page precisely and purposefully.

A Guide to the Process of Writing Short Stories

The characters in short stories can be just as crucial to the narrative as the characters in a novel would be. However, a shorter story allows for more room for experimentation. For instance, some works of short fiction do not contain characters at all.

Classic character archetypes such as the antagonist and protagonist are also utilized quite frequently, as they are in other longer works of fiction. When working on a shorter piece, the setting of your story should often be approached with the mindset of keeping it singular—in just one place. Moreover, it’s essential that your setting ties into your stories’ existing themes.

Selecting and experimenting with the appropriate point-of-view and making an outline are both great ideas to improve your ability to write successful short stories as well. Pitfalls and potential mistakes in the form are something you want to avoid. Luckily, short stories are short, so I recommend reading as many as possible to decide which ones are successful for yourself—then deconstruct why you feel they worked so well.

Take Your Short Story Writing Skills to the Next Level with Our Short Story Writing Course

Every word in a short story matters. This means that writing these shorter pieces can feel much more intense when there is less room to work with regarding word count. If you find yourself frozen by the pressure of using fewer words, you should consider enrolling in the Short Story Writing Course on the Creative Writing Ink website. This online class runs for six weeks and offers an intimate class size of only 10 students. During these six weeks, you will receive individualized coaching from experienced tutor, Jessica Miller. Miller is a successful children’s novelist with a background in teaching creative writing to adults and children. Spots are bound to fill up quickly, so claim your spot now!

Guide to the Process of Writing Short Stories