How to write a short story

How to write a short story

We will go over the intricacies of writing a short story, as it can be challenging. A short story is more than just a cornerstone to drafting a novel; it is a creative process in its own right. Writing a short story requires determination, creative thinking, and careful planning, so let’s get started.

What is a short story?

A short story is a hazy, misconstrued concept. Short stories are often works of fiction that portray a slice of a broader picture. It can be of any genre but within the time limit. Short story authors should condense their thoughts to only the most vital attributes within a limited time frame.

A short story is a self-sufficient piece of fiction that is between 1,000 and 10,000 words in length. Due to this length restriction, short stories are less complicated than lengthy works in some ways. You can make a world in a short story, but not to the level that you can in a relatively long novel. Likewise, while you can have various full-clad characters, you can’t give each one an entire background story and impactful character as you can in a longer story. Long, complex storylines with several subplots are often well-tailored to novel-length than short stories. 

It is not to say that the theme of the narrative cannot be as profound as the subject of a longer work. To successfully convey a theme, you don’t have a large world with a complicated magical structure and a full set of three-dimensional characters. Although short stories have lesser phrases, easier setups, and tinier casts than novels, they can have the same effect on readers.

Length of a short story

Short stories usually range in length from 1,000 to 10,000 phrases. Novellas are narratives that are lengthier than 10,000 words but lesser than 40,000 texts. You may also hear the term novelette to correspond to a tale of between 7,500 and 17,000 words. All literary publications have distinct submission specifications, so if you want to be published, then check it.

Tips for writing a short story

Short stories are often undervalued by authors since they are short as it will not indicate they don’t require the same amount of organizing and concern as a lengthier written text. If you want to write short stories, it may be better to separate the writing workflow into a few steps;

Make your characters

There is no story without characters. It’s time to select who your main character and villain are and how you want your audiences to perceive each.

Prepare a setup

Only if your story begins entirely in space, you’ll have to position your characters somewhere. The context always affects the story, so make sure the setup you selected will either help or confuse things in the story.

Construct a story with conflict

There has to be a concern that your characters are dealing with. That is the ultimate basis. You can decide how to settle things in the story by the end.


It is the stage at which you put everything together. When and where does it occur? What chronological order will your story take? Your overview is the foundation of your short story.


Fill in the gaps with that outline. Type and anything you don’t want can be edited later. Many individuals overdo this step, and as a result, they give up. Don’t get hung up on stylish innovative writing style. 

Elements of a short story

The short story has the following elements;


Characters are the individuals (or living creatures, aliens, mythological creatures, or super-intelligent objects) who take part in the story’s action. The lead character is the one who changes or does not change as an outcome of the story’s main conflict. The main villain is the person or thing seeking to stop the main character from changing. To be clear, the villain does not always have to be a human; it might be the character’s surroundings, community, or even a part of themselves.


The plot is the chain of actions that depicts the disagreement and struggle of the story.  And if your story focuses on an alien who is in search of a planet where life is possible like Mars or a fictitious planet, then begin your story as the alien approaches Mars or just as their spaceship touches down. Past stories can be introduced later using methods such as dialogue, old memories, and the character’s actions. The theme is the message the writer wishes for their audiences to take with them at the end of the story.


Conflict is the response that propels the plot of a story. It is the challenge that the main character must conquer or the mission that they are trying to achieve. A dispute can be intrinsic, such as an alien attempting to prove to themselves that they are capable of managing a task to Earth on their own, or external, such as the lead character wanting to convince their community that Earth is a meaningful planet with which to enable communication and connection.


The setting of a story is the period and location where the events take place. For instance, the context for the alien story could be Colorado in 1868.


Except for the word limit, there are no specific instructions for writing a short story. Even so, if you’re too far into your narrative, you might wrap up it as a book or develop a compilation of short stories established in the multiverse or context you formed. Crafting a short story must finally be enjoyable; it’s an opportunity to let your creativity flow while experimenting with new approaches and strategies. Outline, modify, and replicate until your short story reaches the hearts of your audience.