Anyone who has a great desire and flare for writing would have certainly felt the excitement that grips the entire being when an idea suddenly takes shapes and grows beyond leaps and bounds. It just doesn’t stop till one takes a pen and puts it down on paper. Every budding writer has an intense desire to make it great on paper and in the world of books.
If you are planning a career in writing and are thinking of putting your writing skills to good use or are planning to develop your writing skills, then read on to gather few tips on writing a good short story. If any budding writer wishes to publish a book of his/her own, then starting with a novel is not very advisable. The best way to start your writing career is to start with a short story. For a good short story, follow these few guidelines.
Think of a Plot
At times it’s very difficult to think of a plot when we sit down to write. Most times the idea for a story strikes at the most unexpected of times. Carry a pocket book with you at all times so that you can jot down ideas as and when you think of it. Think of the basic plot structure or a theme you would like build your story around.
Don’t worry much if the plot doesn’t make much sense because it will begin to make sense once you start writing it out. Think of a plot that is original, unique and intriguing. Think of a main plot and if it’s a long story then include a sub-plot as well to make it more interesting. While deciding the plot also think of the genre you want to base your story on. It could be romance, thriller, horror, suspense, non-fiction or just anything that goes with your creative sense.
Every story needs a setting. Decide on a setting whether it will be local or global. Based on the setting the story and the characters will be developed further. If you have decided to base your story on a local setting then add some local flavor into the story in terms of culture, language and traits that would give your story the perfect local, authentic flavor. It would also seem like an insider’s perspective which only makes the story more convincing.
Think of the Characters
Start thinking of some characters and characteristic traits of each that would make them stand out and seem developed. The basic characters involve a protagonist (Hero/ central character) and an antagonist (Villian/ Opposing character you can also include side/supporting characters to make it more interesting. Opt for round (complete) characters.
A story should have a well-defined structure in terms of a beginning, middle and an end. It is usually a five-stage structure : Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution. In the Exposition, the setting of the story and the basic plot, characters and conflicts have to be introduced. This is followed by the Rising Action where the conflict is further developed. In the Climax the conflict reaches its zenith and leads to complications and catastrophes.
In the Falling Action that conflict begins to clear and things begin to make sense. In the final stage or the Resolution, the conflict is resolved, the loose ends are tied up and everything is brought to a satisfying end. Usually in a story the theme of justice is maintained: the good are rewarded for their good deeds and the evil punished for their actions and each character meets the consequence of his/her actions.
Read and Observe
It’s very important to be as well-read as possible. Read a lot of books and observe and note down any significant detail that you might encounter. Note down every observation no matter how trivial it may occur. Details are always useful and one never knows when it might be required. Observe the plot structure, the characters and the narrative style.
Decide on a narrator who will be narrating your story. It could either be in the first person narrative, in which case the protagonist will be narrating it. Mostly in stories, either first person or third person narrative is used. You can either narrate your story from an outside point of view or from the characters’ point of view.
Take a Break
Once you have completed the first draft of your story, take a break for a few days. It wil help you reorganize your thoughts and incorporate new ideas. Once you read it after a few days, it will be easier to spot mistakes. Fresh ideas will also come to mind and you can develop the story further.
Make sure that your language is absolutely flawless and impeccable. If you have any doubt and even otherwise keep a dictionary in vicinity and use it to be certain of the right form of usage. Any sort of grammatical error is an almost unpardonable crime for a writer.
This is another significant step. Once you reach this step, it means your story is almost done. Read your story slowly and as clearly as possible and observe every minute detail. Proof read as many times as you can and spot errors and make the required corrections. It is best advised to get someone to proof read your work. In this way you can make sure that the errors don’t go unnoticed.
Once you have covered all these steps, your short story is now complete. Always remember to write on an area which you are well- aware of or something which you can be sure to give a definite opinion about. Otherwise your story might come across as unconvincing and quite uncertain. The best way to assure the success of your story is to make it seem convincing and realistic. Follow these basic steps and general guidelines and to write a well-developed short story.
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