10 Secrets Of Short Story Writing To Help You Craft The Perfect Tale

IN recent years the revival of the short story has had many writers eagerly turning to their keyboards. But writing a short story is harder than it seems and can be a frustrating experience.

While a short story seems to be the easy alternative of writing a novel, don’t be mistaken. Packing in all of the detail, characters and emotion into a few thousand word, or sometimes only a few hundred, is a challenge.

But don’t let that put you off.  

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 23.30.34Tina Calder of Excalibur Press, a new publishing and author services company, says more often than not getting it right is about getting a plan.

She added: “For many people who want to write a short story, or in fact any kind of fiction novel, they already know the story inside and out.  For a lot of people, this story has been rattling around for weeks, months or even years.

“From speaking to a number of our authors we find that having a good plan of action is essential for keeping focused.  

“That’s why we developed our Free Quick & Easy Fiction Writing Formula Cheat Sheet.  It helps people think about the project for a short time and adds a little organisation to the process.
“For some people they adhere to every single aspect of the cheat sheet, for others, they just take elements that suit their writing and personality style.”

Click HERE to get your FREE Fiction Writing Formula Cheat Sheet sent to your inbox

And, when you’re ready to get writing, here are 10 secrets of short story writing to help you get back on track…

1. Don’t Worry About The Plot

Some of the best short stories can take place in one setting with no real action taking space. So long as you have interesting characters and information to reveal, you’re on track. You don’t need a murder mystery to capture the reader’s attention.

2. Experiment

Try writing the story, or at least sections of it, from the perspectives of different characters involved or in first person, third person or close third person. This will help you develop your characters more and may show you a more suitable style of writing.

Be colourful!

Be colourful!

3. Colours Are Your Friends

While descriptions such as ‘soft’ can be difficult for readers to imagine, and inevitably everyone will understand them differently, colours make it easier to control what your readers see. Saying something is blue communicates a lot more than saying something is nice.

4. Beware Of Adverbs

If you find yourself using adverbs, ask yourself if you’re using the correct verb for what you are trying to express. She walked quickly could instead be she rushed.

5. Four Characters Or Less

This depends on the length of your short story – the shorter the story, the fewer the characters. You don’t want to confuse the reader by throwing too many names at them. Also, having less characters will allow you, and the reader, to really get to know them.

Tina said: “In our Free Quick & Easy Fiction Writing Formula Cheat Sheet we give one way of help people to develop their characters with ease and without complication, giving a reference point to return to when writing the main story.”

Click HERE to get your FREE Fiction Writing Formula Cheat Sheet sent to your inbox

6. Dialogue Must Be Relevant

Simple hellos and goodbyes, pleases and thank yous and general every day chit chat can go unsaid. If you can describe the dialogue better than the character can say it then it doesn’t need to be in quotation marks. Dialogue should be used only to a) move the plot forward or b) reveal more about a character.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 19.41.167. Cut All Dialogue By 50%

We write dialogue how we speak but in the literary world characters don’t speak like we do. Saying silly things in real life, such as “No, yeah, I agree,” can be shortened to just “yes”.

8. Be Active

She said, she did is much more effective than she was saying, she was doing.

9. Powerful Endings

Whether you want a happy, sad or open ending, it’s important to make it memorable. Think about a strong image which would help portray the emotion you want to convey.

10. Write, Write, Cut

Write everything down – editing as you go can lead to writer’s block. Then, edit your story so that everything is there for a reason. Anything that doesn’t add value to the story must be cut.

Click HERE to get your FREE Fiction Writing Formula Cheat Sheet sent to your inbox

For more information about Excalibur Press services log on to www.excaliburpress.co.uk or email excaliburbelfast@gmail.com.  You can also find them on FACEBOOK or TWITTER

About the Author

Jessikah Hope Stenson
A young, enthusiastic writer who appreciates a good scone.