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How to Write a Short Story: Tips

Do you want your readers to feel an uninterrupted from the fictional world with your short story? There is a standard list of rules for short stories that most writers follow.

Think thoroughly about the plot.

Decide on how will the short story goes, think of the morally significant actions of the character, the unexpected consequences or twists of the story, the details and the tone of the story. Explore your motivations, determine what your story will put a hold on your readers, stick to the core message.

The reader’s attention should be caught up with the plot of the story.

Create a catchy title for your short story.

Creating a catchy title can be the most difficult task of writing a story, however, it is one of the most important. Make your readers wonder with the story title.

Use a few characters and focus on one point of view.

A short story cannot afford to have more than one character. Be creative enough to characterize the protagonist of your story, and minimally describe the other characters. Since you only have one or two protagonists, use only one point of view to prevent your story from being complicated.

Outline the setting of the story.

Write down the location of the story and what is the significance of the setting in the story. This can give the readers the direction and a sense of purpose of your short story.

Limit the time frame of the story.

There are some short story who jumps around in time, however, if you limit the time frame of your story it can make a bigger chance of success. It does not fit to cover a long period of years in a short story. When you limit the time frame of the story, it can give you more chance to focus on the events that are in your narrative.

Be selective.

The short story definitely needs discipline and editing. Each of the line in the narrative should contain a gist that can build the character or advance an action. If it does not result in any of those, it will not work.

Follow conventional story structures.

We already know what conventional structure is, don’t we? Although a short story cannot contain every element of the story, remember a story should roughly be composed of exposition, conflict, rising action, climax, and denouement.

Rewrite for clarity and structure.

A revised and polished story increases the chance of your story to be published. The expectations set up on the first page will be dealt, some insignificant information will be cut off.

Always remember that with any type of writing, the exposition and denouement of the story are the most important parts. Make sure that the first line and the last line of the story will make a huge impact on the readers.

With all these steps, keep in mind that the most important one is how you deliver your story. If there is an instance that to make your story exemplary, you have to break the rules, break it.

Fiction Writing

Fiction writing is a composition made up of non-factual sequential facts from the imagination of the author. The fictional story is often written to entertain and convey the point of view of the author.

Although fiction can be expressed in a variety of formats, it is commonly referred to the narrative forms of literature.

The author writes the story out of his or her imagination and makes up the characters, the storyline, the plot twist, the dialogue, and other times the setting.

This kind of writing does not claim any factual stories. However, it immerses us onto experiences that we cannot experience in our lifetime, it tries to introduce us to people we can never meet, and places we cannot visit.

Fiction may just be an imagination, but it can inspire us, intrigue us, scare us, and engage us into new ideas.

To sum it up, it is regarded as the exact opposite of non-fiction, of which authors assume responsibility for engaging historical and factual truths in their writing.

However, there is a distinction between fiction and non-fiction in the postmodern literature that has become unclear.

Types of Fiction Writing

There are two main types of fiction writing, the literary and commercial fiction.

Commercial fiction attracts the board of audience into a subgenre, such as mystery, romance, legal thriller, and science fiction. It has a subject matter that the author uses.

Literary fiction appeals to a smaller, more intellectual and adventurous audience. It has a notable style of writing, and originality of the plot. It also holds a literary merit that can offer a social commentary or political criticism.

These fiction stories may be in a form of a short story, novel, novella, screenplay, or drama.

Short story: a piece of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting.

Novel: a relatively long work of narrative fiction, and is published in books.

Novella: a text of written, fictional, narrative prose which is normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.

Screenplay: or a script is a written work by screenwriters for a film, video game, or television program.

Drama: a specific mode of fiction played in a performance.

Blog fiction is also developed across the internet, where a story is delivered through a blog.

Famous Fiction Authors

Are you looking for someone to be your inspiration for your books? Here is a list of the most popular fiction authors of all time. In time, these authors have made their books on to become classics.

The list of these famous authors is based on the estimated number of copies sold of all fiction books they have written.

Agatha Christie

She was born with the name Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, an English author who is renowned for the detective novels, short story collections, and the longest-running play she wrote about a murder mystery plot.

She was an unsuccessful writer until 1920, the six rejections were reverted with her book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The Guinness World Records made her as the best-selling novelist of all time.

William Shakespeare

He was an English poet, playwright, and actor, and was renowned to be the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He goes by the name ‘Bard of Avon’ because of his still-existent works, the 39 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems. His works have made a lasting impression on the theatre and literature until today. His famous works are Hamlet, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet.

Barbara Cartland

She was born with the name Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland, a renowned English author of romance novels. She was one of the most prolific and commercially successful worldwide during the 20th century. She wrote 723 novels and all were translated into 38 languages. Her first novel was Jigsaw, a risqué society thriller.

 Danielle Steel

She was born with the name Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steele, an American novelist who is currently the bestselling author that is alive. She published children’s fiction and poetry. Her works were translated into over 43 languages, with 22 adapted for television.

Harold Robbins

An American author of popular novels. He is one of the best-selling writers of all time, one of his best-known books is The Carpetbaggers. Since his death, there are several new books published, written by ghostwriters who based on Harold Robbin’s own notes and unfinished stories.

J.K. Rowling

Joanne Rowling, who is more known under her pen name, J.K Rowling, is a British novelist and screenwriter. She is known for her fantasy series, Harry Potter. The books have won multiple awards, and have become the bestselling book series in history and had been the basis of series of films.

Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, who is more known under his pen name, Dr. Seuss, was a German-American author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, and artist. His works were known to be for children, one of his writing classics were The Cat in the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King is an American author, his works are more of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. He has written a novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption of which was the basis for the film, The Shawshank Redemption, it became one of the greatest films of all time.

How to Get a Short Story Published

When we decided to write a fictional short story. Endless ideas rise for the plot of the story. However, you should still take some of the cues to know any of our suspicions.

As a newly bloomed writer, you hear a lot of advice. Today, let me discuss with you how to get your short story published, and clearly explain the process is done.

Getting your short story published in a reputable literary journal can be a great way for you to get promoted to a fiction writer. Quick side note,  Easy Street Print was a company we used for our stories, and since they’re both a printer and publisher it made the process a lot easier. They worked for us, but we encourage you to shop around for publishers that fit your need.

Published short stories can help you build an author platform as a fiction writer; it can give you an opportunity to get paid for the short stories; and nonetheless, it can give you the opportunity to win awards or cash prizes through some of the short story contests.

Do not send out stories too much, you might get rejections. Here are some of the rules to abide when you plan to submit your written short story:

  1. Read thoroughly the submission guidelines. This is to ensure that you are submitting your short story to the appropriate publication.
  2. Do not submit to a magazine or journal that you have not read at least one issue from. This is to know the tone of their publication and to decide whether or not your written short story suits.
  3. Do not forget to include a cover letter. Insert a cover letter for your story that briefly describes the plot of the short story. It can be as short as 25 words that explains who the main character is, and what the conflict is about. Remember to keep your cover letter short! This is not a synopsis.
  4. If you want, you can include a short biography about yourself. Make your biography short and modest, let us keep the main focus on the short story.
  5. Address the cover letter to the editor by name. Make a thorough research, to avoid mistakes and misspelling the name of the editor.
  6. Do not forget to take note of the word count of your short story.
  7. Avoid the usage of fancy fonts or typefaces for your short story.
  8. Make your story more interesting. Avoid using some story cliché.
  9. Use simple dialogue tags. Dialogue tags are not boring, just make it simple to avoid drawing attention away from the short story.
  10. Be careful with the modifiers. Short stories use adjectives and adverbs. When using these modifiers, do not forget about the rules.

If you are caught up in publishing your short story, DO NOT GIVE UP. Writing and publishing are difficult, but let your work come to shore. Instead, strengthen your writing style and do not ever assume that you are an advanced writer to learn more.

Take a break at times, even if you are working on a long project, it can help you think of better ideas. Grab the opportunity to marinate and let your ability go. Check out our homepage for more tips on writing short stories.

Develop a Writing Style

The writing style is the author’s manner of how they express themselves. It is a combination of their personality, personal reading preference, and decisions when they write. The sentence length, structure, vocabulary, mood, and tone vary from one author to another.

Here are the steps that can help you develop your writing style.

Read more.

When you read exceedingly and thoroughly, more so when you got to read the classics, you will get ideas of the writing styles of different authors. Great literature is the best teacher for those who are still learning. When you read, you can get a good sense of what can be done to your writing style.


Write as much as you can without any holdbacks. Attempt different genres, do not worry about the publishing and influence. Write with passion, your writing style will improve over the period of time. Do not forget that your voice is in the paper.

Do not use jargon words.

Most writers strive their works to have an enlarged use of vocabulary. However, it is possible to stick with the words that are used in daily conversations. If you use jargon words to sound impressive, you might misuse it or might use it awkwardly. Use a straightforward language, simple words tend to have broader connotations.

Trim long sentences.

Limit the use of long sentences, this is to make your message clearer. Divide the thought into two or more short sentences. This can be where the art of writing comes.

Be clear.

The goal of writing is to communicate with your audience, make sure that your message is clear. The sentences must be direct and simple. Make your story easy for your readers. Vague language weakens your writing because it forces the reader to guess at what you mean instead of allowing the reader to concentrate fully on your ideas and style. Choose specific, descriptive words for more forceful writing.

Avoid stereotypes and clichés.

Do not use metaphors, expressions, it might be stereotypical which may sound unnatural for your readers. Occasional use of qualifiers will let the reader know you are reasonable, but using such modifiers too often weakens your writing. Excessive qualification makes you sound hesitant and adds bulk without adding substance.

Avoid redundancies.

Some writers unconsciously repeat a words or ideas. Although this can be eliminated without changing the thought of the sentence.

Use active voice, not passive. Use verbs, not nouns.

An active voice is stronger than a passive voice because the active voice is more direct and cuts down on the number of needed words. Moreover, use verbs more. Nominalization is a fancy-sounding but important concept in writing. It describes the process by which verbs and adjectives are turned into nouns. Nominalization makes the sentence weaker and longer.

To create and refine your writing style is vital, readers are in pursuit of original and clever. Set aside a little time every day and write a few. This can help your short story writing style grow and improve.


A short story is one of the forms of fiction writing, and we all know that fiction is a series of events made from the imagination of the author. It is a prose writing which does not depend on verses, rhymes or meters for the organization and presentation of the narrative.

Below are the elements of a short story, and each is discussed thoroughly to widen your understanding  and help you become a better short story writer.


It is the time and place of which the story revolves. The time of the story tells when did the story took place, meanwhile, the place of the story is the geographical location of where the story happened. Other authors include the weather condition, social condition, and mood or atmosphere of the story. These sub-elements can make the readers engage more of the story.


It is the narrative sequence on how the author arranged his or her ideas. This is a planned, logical series of event that has its own beginning, middle, and end. There are five essential components of the plot:

Introduction: It is the beginning of the story, in which the character and setting are described by the author.

Rising action: It is where the events of the story have become a little complicated, and the conflict of the story is revealed.

Climax: It is the highest point of the interest and the turning point of the story. A good climax can make the readers wonder what will happen next, they will ask themselves whether the conflict will be resolved or not. A good climax makes the readers wonder and read more.

Falling action: The events and conflicts of the story begin to resolve of themselves. The readers will have a hint of what will happen next and whether the conflict will be resolved or not.

Denouement: It is the final outcome of the story. The events and conflicts are untangled and resolved.


This is the vital element of a short story, without the presence of conflict, there will be no plot. It is not merely a form of an argument between two characters, but rather it is a form of opposition that faces the main character.

There are two types of conflict, external conflict, and internal conflict. Moreover, there are four kinds of conflict, man against man or physical conflict; man against society or social conflict; man against circumstances or classical conflict; and man against himself or herself or psychological conflict.


It is either the person is in a work for fiction, or it is solely the characteristics of a person. Characters remind themselves that they should be consisted and motivated. There are characters that are individual, developing and statistic.

Point of view

When you write a story, a point of view must be needed to the angle from which the story is narrated. Some of the points of view are innocent eyes, extreme consciousness, first-person and omniscient.


The theme of a short story can be a guide, it can control or insight of the flow of the story. The theme may be the thoughts of the author.