Writing Short Stories: A Quick Guide

There is NOTHING more horrendously frustrating than wanting to write something, anything, but not having a clue how to. It's time to grab those fragments of sentences, vague ideas, and a pen. Piecing together a good story is not as hard as it looks. Here's how to do it...

-A good starting point would be to decide what your narrative is going to be about. Come up with a genre, and possibly a few themes you would like to include in your story.

-This could then give you an idea of the setting. What era will your story be set in? Where? Will it be set in an alternate reality? It's all up to you! If you have a particular time period in mind, maybe it would be a good idea to do a little background research on it, so your writing can be realistic (if, of course, that's that you're aiming for). If it's set in a fantasy world, get creative and make sure your are descriptive, so that the readers can picture the setting themselves.

-It's time to think of a main character, a protagonist. It might be a good idea to write down a quick description of them- their qualities, habits, interests... Also, try to picture them. Drawing them might help bring them to life. Once you have a protagonist, you might want to consider thinking about an antagonist- the character opposing your main character. This is optional, but if you decide to include one in your story, think of their relationship to your main character and maybe how you could create contrast between the two. After you've done this, you might find it easier to come up with secondary characters. Think of a narrator and decide what tense you want to write in.

-Now, write up a vague plot. This can easily be changed as you work through the narrative; the story might begin to write itself, but create a quick summary beforehand so you don't find yourself banging your head against the desk in sheer frustration. Think of a beginning, middle and end for your story. If you want to go into more depth, follow this structure: exposition, rising action, crisis, climax, falling action, and resolution. However, structure isn't always set in stone- this is just a guide.

-It's almost time to start writing. It's a good idea to note down a few words you'd like to use, just so you don't find yourself giving up due to a lack of vocabulary. And a piece of advice- THE THESAURUS IS YOUR FRIEND.

-Now, WRITE! If you get stuck, power through- you can edit it once you have finished. Think about getting some second opinions too, be open to constructive criticism- it will only make your work better.

There you have it! Remember: You can do this in any order. It's completely fine if you find yourself picturing the perfect setting for your story before you can think up a main character. Also, narratives are all different. You might not want to focus on one particular character, or setting. It's all up to you. Happy writing!

-Barista Ria-

Image: Nicole April