Table of Contents
Do you want practical advice on how to write short stories?
Would you love to know how to come up with ideas and then how to make money from them?
Then read on…
Have you been thinking: ‘I would love to write short stories, but I just don’t know where to start?’
Or you don’t feel like you’re clever enough or know people in the writing business?
Some people think you have to be qualified in some way to write short stories like this is a form of acceptance. Thinking like this may make you feel like giving up, right?
Let me tell you, I’ve written fiction and non-fiction books but I’m not ‘qualified’.
I was a songwriter with no idea how to write longer stories trying to hard enough to come up with enough words to fill a song. The big problem was that my songs started to sound the same.
I felt I wanted to give up, which meant stopping writing for a long time. But being creative was my outlet, my calling if you like.
Then, as if by chance, something amazing happened…(it was on my Bucket List to write a book which I never ever thought would happen!)
I went to a creative writing group.
Instantly it became crystal clear to me how to we sometimes just need to look in a different direction and do something different to what we normally do.
If you change nothing, nothing changes, right?
I started exploring ideas I wouldn’t normally.
I took part in the monthly writing competitions even if I didn’t do well, it was exercising my creative brain. But I didn’t stop there.
After that, we explored one of my short stories and with my new-found confidence, it became a full-blown novel!
Building on that success, we decided to release it as a book on Amazon and start making money!
People (who I didn’t actually know) bought our book!!
And that’s why I’m so excited to share this with you so you can get these types of results too with writing short stories.
What We’ll Cover Today:
- Tip #1 – What is a short story?
- Tip #2 – What makes a great short story!
- Tip #3 – Short story Writing Prompts.
- Tip #4 – Short Story Outline
- Tip #5 – Writing your short story- let’s do this!
- Tip #6 – How to make money writing short stories
And much, MUCH more!
Read-on and let’s dive in!
Tip #1 – What is a short story?
Why you can start your creative writing journey with a short story!
We will cover the definition, length, why you should start with a short story, the characteristics of a short story etc.
Short story, brief fictional prose narrative that is shorter than a novel and that usually deals with only a few characters.
Length of a short story
5,000 to 10,000 words
Many people consider 4,000 words the ‘sweet spot’ for writing a short story.
Characteristics of a Short Story
Short stories usually focus on a single subject or theme with limited characters which tends to only focus on one plot/storyline.
Writing short stories is perfect for somebody wanting to progress onto writing a novel.
Tip #2 – What makes a great short story?
Discover how the experts do it!
* We will cover the 7 elements to writing a great short story.
* How to evoke emotion in your reader.
* Examples of a short story template for you to follow.
7 elements to writing a great short story:
- 1. Decide on your theme/emotion. Is it going to be a comedy? Sad story? Action-packed? If you don’t have many ideas for writing. short story, we will share some prompts. Consider a story that you wouldn’t normally write. It will be good practice.
- 2. Wallop Scene/Opening Line. You want to make sure you hook your readers in right away where they instantly know they are in for a treat! in our crime novels, you will see how we purposely make sure our opening lines ‘shake up’ the reader. Think something like opening with dialogue that would instantly show your readers how your main character will react at something. Avoid boring at all costs!
- 3. Include these elements in your short story.
Your main character
What problem are they facing?
Who could help them on their journey?
What could their plan be to achieve success?
What happens when they execute their plan?
Does something bad happen? (Plot twist)
- 4. Make sure the ending is a whopper!
Your endings don’t all have to be happy-ever-afters.
Click here to check out all different kinds of endings:
- 5. Read your story through from the view-point as your reader. This is where it can be really beneficial to have joined a creative writing group where others can look over your work and tell you where you are doing well and where you may need to improve.
- 6. Take on-board any constructive criticism. Readers have lots of choice out there so anything you can learn that can make your work even 5% better is worthwhile.
- 7. Come out of your comfort zone. Short stories are great for playing around with different genres and different characters.
Tip #3 – Short Story Writing Prompts.
Explore new ideas, maybe even new genres!
* Romance prompts
- Best Friends. The characters start out as best friends but eventually decide to start a relationship. This can either be a happily ever after or a terrible idea.
- Enemies. The characters begin as enemies. At some point, they are forced to spend time together and begin falling in love.
- Unhappy Ending. Two people are crazy for each other, but can’t ever be together due to circumstances out of their control.
- The Break-Up. A couple that has broken up realize that they may have made a mistake – but is it too late?
- Broken Tradition. Create a couple where all gender role and relationship expectations are turned upside down. What does this romance look like?
- Bad Timing. Two people know they are perfect for each other, but the timing is just never right.
* Crime prompts
Guests at a surprise party are startled when, instead of arriving at the party as planned, the ashes of the birthday boy are delivered with a note from his killer.
A busy family calls a repairman who discovers human bones jamming their garbage disposal.
In The Lab
A simple ‘scientific research’ study goes awry, leaving all the subjects dead… except for one.
A funeral is held and the guests arrive, only to discover that there’s no one dead… yet.
Psychological Thriller Prompts
A student meets a new friend at school, but somehow no one else at the school has ever seen or met this new friend.
Your character wakes up by the side of a freeway she’s never seen before, in a new state, with an unknown phone number written on her wrist.
Return to Sender
Your character suddenly begins to receive detailed letters from his parents, who died four years ago.
One morning your character awakens to find her name listed in the obituary column of the newspaper.
* Sci-Fi prompts
- You find out you’re a DNA experiment combining as many recessive genes into one person as possible. That’s why you’ve always felt so different from everyone else.
- A man takes a vacation to another dimension only to find that everything he was trying to get away from, he’s brought with him.
- Couchsurfing on another planet goes wrong.
- A marathon runner illegally trains on a planet with stonger-than-Earth gravity to gain an advantage over his competition in the inter-universe Olympics.
(To get even more sci-fi writing prompts visit here: https://mandywallace.com/58-science-fiction-writing-prompts/)
* Historical Fiction prompts
It’s the 50s and your character’s small town is peaceful and quiet. What happens when the civility is disrupted when a new radio arrives to the house of a family and causes jealousy and envy amongst the townspeople?
Your daughter has disappeared. For years you search for her, but she’s never found. Then, in your old age, she returns and is eager to share her adventures during the American Revolution.
Write a story with two characters, one from Ancient Greece, and the other in present day. What is their connection?
Write about a character who experiences the horrific destruction of Pompeii.
“The queen has asked to see you. And she’s very far from pleased.”
“No, for the last time, I’m not interested in finding new land, stop asking.”
(More prompts found here: https://thebusywritersnotebook.com/historical-fiction-writing-prompts)
* Funny short story ideas
1. Two opposing football coaches from rival schools fall in love with each other.
2. A man is afraid of everything
3. A mum is obsessed with wanting to be popular amongst her teenage daughter’s friends and peers.
4. A past arcade game champion from the 1980s quits his job to travel the country getting high scores on classic arcade game consoles.
5. A world where cats and dogs rule Earth.
(To get a massive list of short story prompts in the comedy genre visit here: https://screencraft.org/2019/11/11/101-hilarious-or-slightly-amusing-comedic-story-prompts/)
Tip #4 – Short Story Outline
You’ll learn what to include so your readers won’t be disappointed
* How do you write a short story outline?
Write the following out put the answers next to it and here is your basic outline for your short story!
Pick a prompt/idea/theme/genre.
Think of a main character.
Open with a BANG! (think of a great first line)
Give that character a BIG problem or challenge.
What would happen if they DIDN’T GET get what they want? (don’t forget to look at all the possible endings)
What would happen if they DID get what they want?
How will the world around them change for all scenarios.
Include a character who your main character goes to for advice.
What advice do they give your main character and why?
Does your main character always listen?
What’s the plan in order to succeed?
Does it GO to plan straight away (good place for a plot twist here!)
How has your main character changed from the very beginning?
* What to make sure you include in each chapter of your short story.
Each chapter should have a specific goal in it. You won’t have the words to waffle.
Keep the pace going, you don’t want to lose your readers.
Think of how your characters can show (not tell) their characteristics. eg. can they SHOW their generous side/jealous side rather than you telling the reader.
If they start off really shy, gradually make them come out of their shell.
Tip #5 – Writing your short story- let’s do this!
Discover ways to ensure you keep writing rather than hitting that wall!
* Are you a pantzer or plotter?
A plotter is somebody who plans every detail of the story. (That would be us!)
And a pantzer is literally a writer who flied by the seat of their pants and wings it.
Some are in between.
So when you come to writing, you will naturally lean to one of these. You have an outline, that maybe all you need.
Or you could do what we do and plan even further.
* An awesome method to ensure you never get writers block!
Tip #6 – How to make money writing short stories
Discover how you could write a short story one week and see it on Amazon the next!
You could rinse and repeat this method and create your own book filled with short stories!
It’s very common for writing group to write an anthology filled with short stories from the group to get them on the first rung of the publishing ladder on Amazon.
Here’s how to make a front cover for your Short Story
Short Story Competitions
Click here to access short story competitions
Magazines that want your Short Story
How To Write Short Stories Tools & Resources.
* I will include videos and other resources to help you maximise your experience!
FREE BOOK for you!
Comment below if you already have an idea for a short story?
Have you already released a book? I’d love to hear from you!
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