Thinking about Starting that Short Story

So if you’re busy putting together a short story, you might be interested in some of the tips out there for creating the best work you can. The short story is an art form which is hard to tackle head on, never mind master. You often have a lot to say but not enough time to say it and sometimes it can be easy to become procrastinator extraordinaire. The short story is a great place to find your style and voice. This is not to say it is only a training ground for other writing, not at all, as it’s a wonderful form in itself. What it does teach you, however, is efficiency, focus and maybe how to finish a piece of writing!

Here are some useful tips or things to think about when tackling your short story. This is not a definitive list (we don’t think such a list exists) and of course it’s open to debate, so probably best put as some tips we’ve put together that we like.

  • Just start writing. This may sound obvious, but for those of us who dawdle, re-arrange paper in the printer, water the dying plants or catalogue photos instead of writing, we know how just getting started can be a trial. Write something, anything. You can edit and re-edit. Just get some words on the page. If you decide to do this, you will find that the words will come. Just get started.
  • Beginnings matter. Try and grab your reader’s attention early on. This does not have to be with hugely dramatic words, though that is nice, but it can be through the use of a beautiful sentence or through evoking feeling or a particular sense of a place.
  • Have at least one character you think the reader will love or hate. This tip is possibly a bit controversial for some, as there are wonderful short stories which make us uneasy and where we are unsure about how we feel about the protagonist(s) but in general we like to be able to invest some sort of feeling when we delve into your world.
  • Don’t hang about; you don’t have time. Get to the action as soon as you can. Remember that given the word count, this is as near to your ending as possible.
  • Edit and re-edit. Every words counts. If you don’t need it, lose it.
  • If you feel the story has come to a natural end, trust yourself and don’t be tempted to keep writing if you have nothing new to add to your story.
  • Think carefully about your title. Sometimes simpler is better, but if you are going for an abstract title, make sure it has some relevance or link to your story.
  • Have confidence.

And of course when you have your collection of short stories all done and dusted, you can always contact us to get on the self-publishing road.