How To Write Short Stories

Some of you may already be aware that I enjoy writing short stories. I also love reading them. My first collection of stories was called, ‘Short Dates’ which was a group of stories about love, loss and friendship.

Often I am asked about how to get started with story writing and, although I am no expert, I am happy to share what I have found so far. One thing is for sure, short stories are not a shortcut to writing novels, as they require a real precision to get right.

As with any story writing, short prose has certain requirements. You need to make sure that such fiction has a purpose, follows a well planned storyline and comes to some kind of meaningful ending.

Here are some of my thoughts on writing short stories. I hope that you find them useful and relevant.

Writing Short Fiction – Top Tips

– Short stories are whole stories and follow storylines from start to end. They are not just nuggets of narrative and need to be able to standalone without any prior knowledge or expectation for further stories to follow.

– Concentrate on one outcome. With a short story you cannot write multiple storylines and introduce lots of side characters. You need to decide what point you wish to make and ensure that that remains your main focus. Don’t go off on unnecessary tangents.

– Get straight into the nitty gritty of the narrative. There is no time for complicated scene setting when writing short fiction. Straight away the reader needs to be immersed in the context, drawn into the life of the protagonist and intrigued by the situation described.

– Plan your narrative well. Unlike with novels, there is a need to outline how the story will unfold. For me, I usually jot down notes about the main character and a few key events that must happen in order to drive the story to a conclusion that I want to see.

– Use a short story to showcase your writing style. There is no need to cut corners in terms of the quality of writing. Short fiction must be as detailed, twisted and thought-provoking as longer texts. Good short stories are not only entertaining but can also help you to grow your readership.

– Write short stories because you enjoy writing. Don’t feel pressured into writing them if these are not your preferred genre. However, if you enjoy the writing process and haven’t tried short stories before, have a go! Most of all, have fun with it.


Some of my favourite stories are short ones. Short tales can be incredibly powerful and memorable if done well. Challenging yourself to write shorter stories is definitely fun and rewarding. I hope that my suggestions were relatable and look I forward to reading your thoughts on this in the comments.

For a sample of my own writing, check out the extract in Short Dates. Also please consider following my blog for similar future content.

15 thoughts on “How To Write Short Stories

  1. Very true! These tips are similar to those I teach my elementary students; your tips are more advanced, of course. Great post!

  2. Good tips! I find the “keep one end in mind” to be especially true. When I write short stories, I love to have one end in mind. Then, I find the most creative and interesting plot and character(s) that will lead to that end. It’s always a fun process lol.

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