Things To Consider When Writing A Short Story

Not every story is long. Some stories are short, sweet, and to the point. You may even have a few great ideas for a short story right now! If you’re ready to start writing but aren’t sure where to begin or what elements should be included in your finished product, here are some things to think about before starting:

How to Write a Short Story | Writing Tips – YouTube
Understand your target audience and tailor your story to resonate with them.
Craft a clear and engaging opening that hooks readers’ interest from the beginning.
Develop well-defined characters with distinct personalities, motivations, and arcs.
Create a compelling plot that presents a central conflict and keeps readers invested.
Utilize descriptive language to immerse readers in the story’s setting and atmosphere.
Explore different narrative perspectives to determine which best suits your story.
Pace your story effectively to maintain tension and keep readers eagerly turning the pages.
Build towards a satisfying resolution that addresses the central conflict and offers closure.
Edit and revise your story to ensure clarity, coherence, and a polished final product.
Seek feedback from peers or writing groups to gain valuable insights and improve your story.

Tip 1. Conflict, Action, And Suspense

When writing a short story, it is important to understand that conflict is the key to any story. Conflict does not just have to be between people, but can also be internal or external. In addition, you can use conflict in many different ways to create suspense and action in your story.

The main goal of a short story is to capture the reader’s attention immediately and keep them engaged until the end of your tale. To do this successfully, you need to create engaging characters who face problems that lead them through a series of struggles before reaching eventual success or failure (or both).

Conflict can be physical, emotional, or mental; external or internal; internal with an external cause for example someone feeling sad because they lost their job due to budget cuts at work which would affect their family financially causing them stress, etc.

Now imagine if somehow this person manages through a sheer determination not only to get another job but also finds out who was responsible for closing theirs down because he wants revenge!

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Tip 2. Setting

The setting is the place and time in which your story takes place. It may be a physical location, such as a house or an apartment. Or it could be an imaginary location that exists only in your mind, like a magical land where dragons roam free.

The setting can also be an emotional state of mind, for example, if you write about someone who is feeling lonely and isolated from others, the setting might be their own emotions or thoughts as opposed to any physical place or period.

The setting should help readers understand what is happening in the story at any given moment. 

In other words, if there’s action taking place outside on a sunny day but then suddenly there’s rain falling inside (which normally wouldn’t happen), this would be confusing because it doesn’t make sense within the context of what’s happening around them and therefore we would assume they were somewhere else entirely!

Tip 3. Characters

Now that you have a plot, it’s time to put your characters into action. There are many different kinds of characters in fiction and each one has a distinct function. A good short story should have at least one main character (MC), one sidekick (or sidekick duo), and one villain or antagonist. 

It’s also important to include various love interests for your MC as well as someone who can act as an expert on the subject matter at hand if necessary.

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Tip 4. Theme

The theme is the lesson that the author wants to teach, the moral or message they want to convey to their readers. It can be a common thing like “always be kind” or something more sophisticated and vague such as “you can never predict what life holds for you.

Themes are often derived from the writer’s personal experience, so it may be helpful to think about what kind of life you want for your characters before writing them into existence.

Once you have decided on a theme for your story, make sure that every single element in it has some relation to this overarching idea. One way of doing this is by creating conflict between two opposing ideas this creates tension in the scene which can help move things along smoothly without making things feel forced or unnatural!

Tip 5. Point Of View

The point of view is the perspective from which your story is told. You have three choices: first person, second person, and third person.

First-person narration means the author tells her story through her own eyes as if she was writing it herself. In second-person narration, the reader is being addressed directly by the author (you) or by another character (you). 

Third-person narration uses a narrator who stands outside of events and reports them objectively like an omniscient narrator in The Lord of the Rings or an unreliable narrator in A Clockwork Orange.

When choosing between the first and third person, think about who’s involved in telling your story; then choose accordingly! If you want your reader to feel part of a group or community where everyone knows each other well (like Peanuts), stick with the first person; 

If you want them observing from afar but still feeling central to everything going on (like Pride & Prejudice), go for a third!

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Tip 6. Language And Style

When you write a story, your goal is to tell a story that’s interesting and engaging. To do this, you must use language that the reader will understand easily. The best way of doing this is by using short sentences and words. It’s better to have fewer but longer sentences than many very short ones. This will help with flow and make your writing more interesting. 

If you can’t think of any adjectives or adverbs, try replacing them with nouns instead (for example: “the man” rather than “the tall man” ). This helps keep things simple and easy for the reader!

Also, remember that it’s important to keep paragraphs short – no longer than three lines per paragraph so people don’t get bored reading what you wrote down!

Tip 7. Voice

Voice is the way you tell your story. A good short story doesn’t just paint a picture with words, it creates an entire world that you can experience in your mind as if it were real. This requires several elements: characters, setting, plot, and theme. But the voice is essential to making these components come alive. 

The way you write sets the tone for your work and influences how readers interpret your writing.

Voice isn’t just about style and grammar; it encompasses all of who we are as individuals our personality traits, mannerisms, and behavior. 

Your unique voice will come through in every aspect of your storytelling (character development, backstories), but also in how you structure sentences (paragraphs), paragraphs (scenes), scenes (chapters), and chapters (the short story itself). 

Voice also plays into how much control over narrative progression each character has over their destiny within this fictional world and what choices they make along those lines when they do have some say over their future outcomes!

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Tip 8. Ending

This is the last piece of advice I’ll give you, and it’s a big one: make sure your ending makes sense and satisfies the reader. If a story doesn’t have an ending that works, or if it has an ending that doesn’t make sense, or if it’s too predictable for its good, then all your hard work will be for nothing. 

You want to leave your reader feeling satisfied with what they just read and not wanting more from something that ends abruptly with no explanation whatsoever (or worse yet with an unsatisfying explanation)

Tip 9. Showing Emotions

The best way to show emotion is to show how it affects the character’s actions and dialogue. This can be accomplished through body language, descriptions of their facial expressions or gestures, internal monologue, and dialogue.

If you have a character who is angry at another character but doesn’t want them to know that they are angry, then have them do something like:

  • Tense up their shoulders
  • Turn away from the other person as if they don’t care about what’s being said
  • Walk into another room without saying goodbye (or even acknowledging the other person’s presence)

If you want your readers to understand that your story has humor and lightheartedness in it without making any jokes about anything else, then show some examples of humor through things like * Jokes made by characters throughout conversations * and funny thoughts that flash across a character’s mind while they’re speaking with someone else.

 A witty retort made by one character after another says something mean

Tip 10. Dialogue

The most important thing to remember when writing dialogue is that it should be used to reveal character, thoughts, feelings, and motivations. It’s not enough for a character to say “I’m angry” or “I’m sad”. You must show how they are feeling by using their words and actions.

For example, A woman sits on the back porch looking out into the garden where her husband stands shaking out a blanket under the rain while two children play in puddles of muddy water. She sees him through the window as he shakes his head and rolls up his sleeves before coming inside; she hears him mutter something about “getting soaked through.”

He walks past her as he enters then stops at the door to look back at her with an expression of concern on his face before going outside again without saying anything further.

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Tip 11. Opening Scene/Hook

A good opening scene should accomplish several things. It should introduce the main character and establish who they are and what their goals are, show how they cope with conflict, hint at their motivations, and/or set an intriguing scene in which we can be visually immersed.

A good opening line is also important – it’s the first thing readers will read! Make sure to grab your reader’s attention with a strong opening line that hints at themes or ideas throughout your story.

Tip 12. Icing On The Cake

This tip is important because it’s all too easy to ruin a good story with an ending that doesn’t live up to what came before. You want your reader to feel satisfied, not let down or confused by how the story ends. 

When you’re writing your short story, consider whether you need or want an epilogue (an extra section that wraps up some loose ends but does not add significant new material), then ask yourself if it will be effective for your story and its readers. 

If you do include one, make sure it ties up any unanswered questions and answers any lingering doubts about what happened after everything was resolved in the main storyline.

Tip 13. Title

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “A title is a promise to the reader.” Well, that’s pretty much true. The title of your short story will be the first thing

your reader sees it sets the tone and gives them an idea of what they’re about to read. So, it’s important that:

Your title should be relevant to your story (so don’t call your sci-fi adventure tale “The Lady in Red,” unless it features some kind of lady dressed in red).

It should be intriguing so readers want to know more (for example, using a question mark at the end of your title can draw people in).

It should be memorable so people remember it after reading your piece (for example, using rhyming words).

And finally, it should be short—you don’t want someone struggling through multiple pages just because they couldn’t remember what they’d already read!

Tip 14. To Begin Or Not To Begin There

There are two main ways to begin a short story:

With an introduction that introduces the story’s setting, characters, and/or plot. This is usually accomplished through a hook, which is a sentence or phrase that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more. Examples include “The house was empty” or “She woke up on Saturday morning with no memory of how she got there.

The boy was running toward the cliff with Zola in his arms when I realized what he was going to do next.” Hooks can be based on something unexpected or have an element of mystery in them so that they raise questions in readers’ minds. 

For example, imagine you’re reading about your friend’s vacation at Disney World when suddenly your friend starts talking about how much fun it was meeting Mickey Mouse except instead of being animated like you expected him (or her) to be some real live people look exactly like cartoon characters wearing costumes! 

This would catch your attention because it doesn’t make sense at first glance but once explained seems logical enough for something like this theme park where nothing makes sense anyway! This type of hook would work best if immediately followed by some sort of explanation from my friend such as “Well actually here’s how.


Writing short stories is a fun and rewarding experience. It’s also a skill that you can build with practice, so don’t get discouraged if your first attempts aren’t perfect. As you write more and more, you’ll learn what works best for your style and become more confident in your approach.

Further Reading

MasterClass – How to Write a Great Short Story: Writing Tips and Exercises for Story Ideas

Dive deeper into the art of crafting captivating short stories with this comprehensive guide from MasterClass. Explore valuable writing tips and engaging exercises to fuel your creativity.

Self-Publishing School – How to Write a Short Story

Discover expert insights on how to compose impactful short stories with Self-Publishing School’s guide. Uncover techniques to create compelling characters, engaging plots, and memorable narratives.

Reedsy Blog – How to Write a Short Story: The Ultimate Guide

Delve into the ultimate guide by Reedsy Blog, providing you with step-by-step instructions for crafting a well-crafted short story. Learn about structure, pacing, and crafting engaging beginnings and endings.

And here’s the FAQs section:


What are the essential elements of a short story?

A well-structured short story typically includes essential elements such as characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.

How long should a short story be?

The length of a short story can vary, but it usually ranges from 1,000 to 7,500 words, allowing for concise storytelling.

How do I come up with ideas for my short story?

Generating ideas can involve drawing inspiration from everyday life, exploring “what if” scenarios, or observing unusual situations in your surroundings.

What’s the difference between a short story and a novel?

A short story is a compact narrative that focuses on a single theme or idea, while a novel allows for more extensive exploration of characters, plots, and themes.

How can I make my short story engaging from the start?

Grab your readers’ attention by starting with an intriguing hook, compelling situation, or a thought-provoking question that sparks curiosity.