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How to Begin Writing a Short Story

Updated on December 27, 2017
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As Sheila became a children's picture book author, she learned neat tricks along the way. She enjoys sharing her success with you!

Writing a short story is not extremely hard once you have the story’s pictures in your mind’s eye. The magic is to eloquently transfer those pictures into a vivid story. First, begin by imagining a catchy title; this will help keep you focused on your story, so you don't drift off on a tangent. After you've written your fiction story, you can create a specific title or keep your original title idea.

Think of a climax for your main character and tie your story together from the preliminary paragraph to the conclusion. To help you along, you may already have pictures that depict your story, so use these pictures as you are writing to build your story. Think as you look at your pictures, which person, animal or thing will become your story’s protagonist, and create a conflict to build momentum that will captivate your reader’s attention.

If you are writing for children, think of a moral theme, an action adventure or a mystery that your chief character solves, even for an adult short story too. Your short story will flow better if it is more than fifteen hundred words if writing for adults. If you can write a kid's short book in 500 words or less, you're deemed an experienced writing professional, in the genre of children's literature, since your story will likely be, poignant, and to the point without superfluous or needless words.

If you're writing a short story for children bear in mind your reader’s age group. Children’s stories are normally broken down into three categories, from the three-year-old to seven, eight to twelve and thirteen to sixteen age group. Forget about giving an adult center stage in your children’s story since kids prefer to read about other youngsters.

A good children’s short story is usually under 750 words; anything longer will deter a child's attention span, nevertheless; a children's book can contain more or fewer words.

Can you think of an interesting story  just by analyzing this picture?
Can you think of an interesting story just by analyzing this picture? | Source

Imagine a short story idea when looking at pictures!

The picture to the right can depict a captivating short story. Can you think of how to begin writing a poignant short story by gazing at this picture and imagining an action scene of some sort? You can pose yourself a few questions to get started on your story. Perhaps, your questions will be different from mine! Nevertheless, I thought of these things listed below to help get your creative juices flowing.

Why is the woman alone wearing a fancy gown? She looks pensive, has she been stood up, or is she running away from someone? What is she staring at?

Looks like, the woman is riding in a boat too? Where is she headed? Is she, a princess or a queen of some sort, judging by her attire? If so, why is she not wearing her crown?

Alternatively, just perhaps the woman could be hiding from a terrible fright, or contemplating jumping off the ledge! What caused her to run away? Why would she want to end her precious life?

As you are putting your short story together, you should feel comfortable writing about your subject. If not, ask yourself if you rather write for older or younger children instead of adults.

Once you've written your short story, reread it to yourself out loud, and then you may enjoy reading to members of your family after you have polished it. Make sure you have no grammatical or spelling errors, and your sentence structure is intact.

  • The best part of all short stories is the ending, so have a moving conclusion that gives the reason and resolution to the conflict you created for your main character.

This is a start to write a captivating short story, whether you decide to write for children, teenagers or adults. Once you complete your short story, you can ask your friends or family to look it over. They can give you interesting feedback that may give you ideas for writing another short story!

© 2012 Sheila Craan

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