How To Write A Short Story FAST!!!


What if I could show you how to write a short story fast?

Cos you know, why not?

You may have tried already to write a short story. But the process was long and confusing.

Or you may have written it but struggled because you weren’t sure the exact steps to follow to make the process quick and easy.

You spent more time worrying, wondering and struggling than you spent actually writing the story.

And now whenever you think about the struggle, your desire to write just flies out the window.

Writing a short story is not necessarily easier than writing a novel.

When I wrote BECAUSE HOME IS… I felt some type of way. Not because I was new at writing fiction – my first book was actually a full-length novel.

But because as you must have guessed by now, the rules for writing a novel are different from those for writing a short story.

After all, a novel can contain anything from 40,000 words upwards and some people peg the word count for a short story as a work of fiction with anything below 7500 words.

So, you just don’t have as many words to play with or express yourself in a short story, as you do in a novel.

That means you have to get your point across a lot quicker than you’re expected to in a novel. So, you can’t have an intricate plot that has too many events or that takes up too many words or scenes to resolve.

You can’t have a character or more that needs a lot of fleshing out, before they can be understood or appreciated. You might not even have the word count to dedicate to a character’s back story.

But your short story shouldn’t be missing out important parts. And it still has to be interesting enough for people to read and (possibly) enjoy.

Tricky, right?

I succeeded in writing this collection of short stories in less than a month.

So, the aim of this blog post is show you exactly how to write a short story fast. And we’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps.

1) Start with an idea

Unlike with a novel where I suggest to always start with a character, I feel like a short story is best started with an idea.

When it comes to short story ideas, they could literally be ideas. Or questions. Or phrases. Or scenarios.

So, what or who are you writing about?

Let me make it easy for you. Get the list below to get a headstart.

2) Pick a point of view

A point of view refers to the perspective from which the story is told, but it’s not dialogue. It’s literally the way the story is told.

There are four kinds of point of view normally used in short stories – first person, second person, third person limited or third-person omniscient.

When a story is told from the first person point of view, it may read like an autobiography because of the use of the pronoun “I”.

E.g. I walked out of there as fast as my legs could carry me.

The second person point of view uses “you”.

E.g. You said you would come back for me.

The third person point of view uses the pronouns “he”, “she”, “it” or “they”.

E.g. She suddenly appeared in front of him.

But there are differences as far as the limited and omniscient points of view, go.

Third person limited point of view does not have any knowledge of the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story.

The narrator is limited to just his/her/their own experiences, thoughts and feelings and what they perceive or are told of others’ feelings, thoughts and experiences.

Of course, their assumptions, perceptions and information about whatever other characters are doing or going through may be inaccurate.

On the other hand, the third person omniscient point of view is the perspective of a narrator who knows everything about every character in the story.

And if you choose to use this point of view, your challenge will be in deciding how to show, not tell – as your narrator knows everything.

Can you effectively convey even unspoken feelings and thoughts of those in your story through the words of an omniscient third person narrator, without actually telling us outright what they are?

So, like I said before, points of view in a story are not dependent on dialogue. They’re more to do with the actual structure of the story.

A crucial part of how to write a short story fast is determining the point of view for your story and staying with it.

Multiple points of view is just one of the things you don’t have time and space to experiment with, when it comes to writing a short story.

One point of view will to some extent, help and may even determine the structure of your story.

Pick the point of view you are comfortable with. The one that comes easiest to you.

We’re trying to show you how to write a short story fast. Not take you down a road designed to frustrate you.

3) Begin writing

Now that you’ve chosen a point of view, begin to write.

I feel like it doesn’t matter whether you start telling the story from its beginning, middle or end. But your first paragraph must absolutely make the reader want to know more. The first sentence must grab the attention of your reader.

No matter how well a story plays out in your mind, if you don’t actually start writing, you won’t have a short story written.

Researching as you write is not how to write a short story fast. If you research as you write, you’ll spend way too much time on it, get distracted by things that don’t even matter and you’ll never finish writing the short story.

The same goes for editing. The rule of thumb is that you do not edit as you write.

Seriously, don’t do it.

You’ll just keep obsessing over this word here and that phrase there. And you’ll never finish because it is a work in progress.

You’re not going to get your short story perfectly done, the first time. So, make your peace with that now.

Try to remember that as Jodi Picoult says, a done draft is better than a blank page. And a blank page is what you’re going to get from overly focusing on achieving perfection with the first attempt.

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story – Terry Pratchett.

I like to say, “Your first draft is supposed to be crap.”

So, don’t sweat it. And don’t use trying to be perfect as an excuse to procrastinate.

Write your short story.

4) Keep it short and simple

Focus on the idea you identified as the basis of the story. If a detail or character doesn’t contribute to or lead up to the idea, cut them out.

If something can be expressed in one word, don’t use five.

Same with characters. There’s no reason for any short story to have 20 major characters. Seriously.

Cut out unnecessary conversations, too. You just don’t have the time or the space.

I’m not saying that short stories don’t have any form of dialogue. But if there must be dialogue, it must be short and absolutely necessary to the story.

A short story is not a novel where the writer can afford to dedicate an entire page or more to dialogue between characters.

And your short story is probably not going to consist of just dialogue because you’re supposed to show, not tell.

The things you should have in mind as you write your short story are the story idea you started out with, the point of view, and the emotions you want your readers to feel. These will help you stay on point and eliminate any unnecessary fluff.

5) Have a strong ending

A strong ending doesn’t always have to be spelt out.

So, it’s not always like “and they lived happily ever after” or whatever. Although that can work.

Let’s say your short story ends with the reunion of a couple who had been previously separated.

You can end it with them sighting each other at the train station where they agreed to meet. You can end it with one party showing up at the other’s house or place of work.

The reader doesn’t necessarily have to read what happens next. If you’ve been able to demonstrate before getting to the end that you know how to tell a short story, their imagination will draw the conclusions you’ve been trying to warm them up to.

A strong ending is not always tied up perfectly, either. A strong ending can be a bit of a cliffhanger, but if you’re going to go down this route, know that there must be a resolution that doesn’t leave your reader(s) feeling cheated.

Strong endings offer resolution. A strong ending can be a word, a phrase or a sentence. It is entirely up to you.

Just remember that you’re not trying to frustrate your reader by leaving them feeling like something major hasn’t been resolved.

Now that you know the basics of how to write a short story fast, have you downloaded your list of short story ideas and registered to attend the free webinar to learn how to complete a short story?

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