Writing a good story is not so easy. I have been thinking about it for so long. I have read different articles, blogs, posts and books on writing short stories and have written few stories myself. In this article, I am going to tell you all the secrets I have gathered about writing a good short story. I hope it will help you in writing a captivating story for your readers.
1) What is a short story?
Ø What comes to your mind when you hear a word short story?
We may think of Short stories as works of prose fiction which consists of few main characters, a plot, a setting, a story structure and so on and are focused towards achieving a common goal of captivating the reader’s attention and revolving around any theme.
Ø How will you define a short story?
Edgar Allan Poe, in his essay “The Philosophy of Composition,” said that:
“A short story should be read in one sitting, anywhere from a half hour to two hours.”
If you will follow the following steps, you will end up with writing an excellent short story for sure. The steps are as follow:
First of all, brainstorm your ideas. Think about any unique idea or a theme which will be there in your short story. Your story should be an extraordinary one in order to catch your reader’s attention. After thinking properly about all the questions in your mind such as; what will be my story about? What will be my approach in this story? And many such questions, try to write down your very first draft of a story in a one sitting. You need not to worry about plotting and outlining before drafting. Your first and foremost priority should be making a draft of your story. Once you are done with drafting, make an outline of your plot. You will organize your short story around six parts of a plot such as:
1. Unique and Restricted Characters:
You need to write about a character which inspires you. You have numerous people around you. Think about those people who inspire and start to write down about their qualities which inspire you. Make a list of all those inspiring traits and qualities and then insert them into your main character which is the protagonist of the story. After that, think about the ways on how to develop your protagonist. Introduce other characters of the story such as villain of the story for showing the progression of your main character. Always make sure that you are not inserting too many characters in a story. It will confuse the readers and will also lead to a very long story and will make the readers bore. So, a good short story must have a unique protagonist and the other characters in the story should be restricted.
Before choosing any setting, think about the places which you think will be suitable to your story. Write down all the names of the places coming into your mind and visualize them. Afterwards, choose a best setting out of them which will catch the attention of your readers. You should try avoiding adding more than 1-2 settings into your short story. It might lead your readers towards the confusion. So, a perfect story usually includes 1-2 settings.
3.ADDING SUSPENSE/ DRAMA TO YOUR STORY:
A story is only interesting if there is suspense in it. So, as a writer you should add some suspense into your story. You can add few questions which can create drama and a reader will read with full curiosity. You may ask:
· Is she going to kill her own mother?
· Is she going to marry only for revenge?
· Will they forgive their family?
· What is going to happen to the man in the dream?
· Is he alive or it is his imagination?
When you are writing an ending of story, write in such a way that your reader will feel that I guess I know the ending but leave them in a complete shock with your twisted ending. Avoid writing such stories in which endings are so obvious and clear because readers avoid such stories. Such stories are considered as boring by the readers. As a writer, you should come up with a satisfying and a unique ending. Think upon such questions before writing an ending:
· What will be my reader’s expectation from this story?
· What ending will be catchy enough?
· What ending will be more favorable?
· Have I followed the story?
· Does my ending will make sense?
After properly thinking about all the question coming to your mind and after reading your story again and again, give an end to your story.
5.EDITING AND GETTING FEEDBACK:
The second last step should be editing. Hold your story in your hands and read it almost thrice and while reading, try to listen to it. You need to check if your story is:
ü Following a proper outline which you created.
ü Is there a central setting?
ü Is your story is resolving a conflict?
ü Is your story is having a strong point of view?
ü Is your protagonist developed?
If you are able to answer all these questions after reading your story, then it is a perfect story. You just need to delete the unwanted characters, unnecessary sentences and settings. After final editing, you can send your story to your friend or your sister in order to have a feedback from them for further improvements.
6.GIVING A SUITABLE TITLE:
This is the last part in which you have to come up with a unique title for your story. You might think of following question before giving a title to your story:
v What is the most unique thing in my story?
v What is the theme around which my story is revolving?
v What sounds interesting in my story?
v Which image or character can be used as a title for my story?
This can be a most difficult and final task for you. After pondering upon all these questions, you can come up with a suitable title for your story.