How to Write a Short Story – Tips and Tricks


In this article, we will discuss how to write a short story. Short stories are often considered as a highly respected mode of writing within the literary world. One of the many purposes of writing a short story could be to attract the audience. People love short stories because these are quick to read. Those individuals who do not like reading mainly due to the thickness novels or books love to read short stories due to their shorter length. Short stories are also capable of making an everlasting impression. Most significantly, short stories can change how one sees the world.

How to write a short story
Image by Daria Głodowska from Pixabay

A short story can be related to fiction which should typically not be more than 8,000 words. Most short stories are comprised of only 2,000 to 5,000 words. However, an extended short story might have as many as 20,000 words.

Short stories are different from novels. Where novels start at around 30,000 words, the short stories as a whole can be of 20,000 words.

When writing a short story, the following steps could be considered.

How to write a short story

Step 1 — Preparing yourself by just reading short stories

Read as many published short stories as you can — especially the classics. This shall help you learn this genre. Therefore, by doing so, familiarize yourself with the appropriateness of writing short stories. See yourself as a learner at this level. Only reading the short stories, not just two or three, rather plenty of them will also boost your confidence to write one yourself. Watch, evaluate, and analyze the experts. Then plan to mimic their work. In no time, you will not only learn but develop your own style for writing a short story.

Step 2 — Think about the central idea for your short story

The key idea or central emotion in your story is the sensation or impression you’d wish to offer your readers which can stick with them, possibly for the rest of their lives. Think of such an idea that would provoke your audience not just on an ordinary level, but stir them up deep down in their souls.

Step 3 — Make a draft

After deciding on your key emotion, you almost certainly have an idea of how you’d like your story to unfold. Drafting is one of the best things to do before writing a short story. It helps you know where you are starting at and how you tend to employ out towards the end of your short story.

Writing a draft for your actual story and deciding upon its opening lines should be your next step. You need to keep your story as short as possible and convey maximum while using minimum words. Thus, this all should be first jotted down in the form of a draft. In order to learn how to write a short story, drafting is a very important skill to possess.

Step 4 — Begin with your short story

The draft which you designed in the previous step now needs to be placed in a concrete form. A short story must have just one mood. Every sentence should build towards the key emotion or mood. Each sentence not only progresses the story but contributes to the “mood” or “key emotion”.

Come up with the right tone; introduce the characters, reflect on the setting and capture the reader’s attention all directly. This would portray a quick attempt of your target mood to the audience. Thus, wasting the lesser time of your readers.

Step 5 — Do not write an abrupt ending

Nothing disappoints a reader than a beautifully written narrative followed by a weak ending. Once you get towards the end of your story, you may be tempted to dash off the ending very quickly. But, do not pay much heed to your temptation.

If you have no clue regarding the ending of your short fiction, return and review it, right from when you started writing it until you reach where you became clueless. Later, ask yourself how would your audience want this to end.

Step 6 — Give your story a read

It is good if you revise your story no less than three times. Ponder upon the strength of the mood you chose for your story. Think about the usage of words; whether they are relevant or synonyms of these words should be used. Go through the consistency of your short story by focusing the characters and plot.

During all this process, note down any of the inconsistencies you may find, despite thinking that they do not matter. Since even extremely minor errors can make your efforts useless and throw the whole narration out of whack.

Step 7 — Decide a title

Think harder on what to call your short story. The title might be changed by editors later. However, it should be something that is captivating. The one which would grab the attention of your audience at first glance.

Step 8 — Give a final read to your short story

After you are done with deciding the title, going through your own work is the best option. When you’re finished with your short story, the real work just begins. This is the final step where you should become a ferocious self-editor. Once you think that you have done everything, give a final read to your short story. Check for any spelling errors, grammatical or syntactical mistakes and punctuation blunders. Omit any unwanted phrases or words. Finally, think whether or not your short story relates to the title that you chose.


This format is the perfect launcher for amateurs, as well as those aspiring to get back on the writing saddle. It enables you to drench a toe into the deep sea of the ever-alluring literary without drowning, while also demanding that you stick to your precise point.

So, these are the tips on how to write a short story. Check out this article on how to write an essay.

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