3 Quick Tips for Your First Short Story | Chirasree Bose
The word short before "story" does in no way imply that writing it is easy. In fact, those who are actively into writing #shortstories will know it takes (most times) more effort, brain-racking, and nail-biting than a longer version would. Okay, so, what is a short story?
I am not going into the Google definitions of a short story. All I write comes from my personal experience to help and guide my fellow writers. So, what I have understood from writing no less than 500 short stories in 6 years of my writing career is that it can be as less as a 300-word piece or as big as a 10000-one. It often depends on which platform you're writing it for. If it is for your personal blog, I suggest that you keep it under 1000 words, always. But if you're going to submit it to a writing platform, competition, or anthology, it solely depends on their terms and conditions.
My first published book "Done With Her..." is a novella with just over 14,000 words. So, yes, many readers went ahead and called it a short story. It is. I don't mind. I was writing it for an Amazon contest and publishing happened at a later point in time.
My other most popular and loved short stories include -
With that said, let me give you 3 quick tips for your first (or maybe not...still important! 💪) short story.
1. No More Than 3 Characters
Limit your number of characters to 3. On average, most short stories have about 3000 to 7000 words and your readers wouldn't want to indulge in the knowing and understanding of loads of characters and lose track of the actual story. With short stories, remember that it is more about the plot, the story, and the relatability to them than character building.
Again, if it is a 500-word short story, I'd say keep it at 1 or 2 (at max). And if (like me) you're all set to write a rather long "short story", you can very well go over this limit of 3 and make it 5. Exceptions are always there. But again, remember more the number of characters, more the complexity you're inviting into the story. More difficult it will be for you to draw closure to it within the given number of words. Hope you got the picture!
2. Break it Down to Mini Chapters
Short stories are mini, micro versions of a novel. That's how I have always treated them. Hence, to build the momentum of the plot and to give rise to a sense of intrigue in my potential readers, I always break the story down into mini chapters. Needless to say, I end each on a rather straightforward cliffhanger so that readers would definitely turn the page.
If you're thinking this only applies to thrillers, murder mysteries, and horror stories, nope! That's not the case. Even a comedy or a drama story can have some very interesting endings for its chapters to keep the reader stuck with itself. Scroll up and click one of my short stories shared here. None of them are thrillers, for your information! 👆
3. A Big No to Too Much Detailing
I know a writer's most infamous (many times, an appreciated) compulsion is to write a scene in detail. Be it each of the characters present in it or just the ambiance. I mean, I understand the occasional, indomitable feeling of wanting to tell people how the wind was flowing through one's hair seated in a remote bus that had nothing at all to do with the character or the scene at hand. But...a short story, again, isn't meant for too much detailing. There has to be a bit of it but...that's it...not a lot.
Do not fall into the self-created trap of wanting to "show" a "lot". That will stand in the way of you writing an intriguing short story, a really amazing one that you have the potential to write. Stop yourself right at the moment you're about to digress. Be ruthless while editing. Be less biased toward what you've written.
So, what do you think of these tips? Do they sound helpful? Do you agree? Do you not? Let me know here in the comments section. Share with all of us your experience of writing short stories, the first one or maybe the hundredth. We're all here to learn and explore #blogging #storytelling #writing.
Know about me and my book on my website homepage here. I had a storytelling blog where I had written over 300 short stories. You'd find some of them on StoryMirror. There are some short PDF stories on the Juggernaut platform as well. They're all free to read.
Now, I have grown an inclination toward writing novels. Check out my books on Amazon and other online sites. 🤗