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How to write a short story essay – 10 tips for creative writing

What is a short story?

A short story is a work of fiction or non-fiction written in a conversational tone. Short stories are usually 2 to 10 pages long and have both brevity and meaning to them. Because of the lack of space to write, short stories vary widely in their content, depending on the writer's imagination and taste, and the audience it's meant to be delivered to. Successful short stories have five elements: characters, setting, plot, the story's theme, and a conflict.

It's deceptively easy to write a short story as the writer is constrained to convey as much meaning and interesting plot using as few words as possible. But writers have done it, and so can you. Here are 10 tips on how to write a good short story:

  1. Concentrate on one or two characters. Remember a rule about personal relationships: “three's a crowd”. You want to convey as much theme, plot and conflict with one or two characters as you can.
  2. Don't fall in love with your characters. Characters do what the story needs them to do, not the other way around.
  3. Short stories have short time frames. At best, short stories encompass an hour, a day or a week. If the story needs more time to develop, write a longer story.
  4. Use all the character's senses. You don't just see, you smell, hear, taste and touch everything.
  5. Use good hooks. A good first sentence lures your reader's attention and pushes them into your story.
  6. Narration helps. Many successful short stories are told by the main character, who serves as the protagonist. If you're stuck on the story, try a different point of view.
  7. Only one conflict per short story. One hero, one villain, one battle. Again, if you need more conflict write a longer story.
  8. Know your theme. Convey the background, setting and conflict so you can use the rest of the space to convey any ideas you want to tell the reader.
  9. Know your ending. Good writers plot out the beginning, conflict, and create a resolution that fits the story you're telling.
  10. When you learn the rules, BREAK THEM! Make more stories, experiment with your writing, mold the rules to your liking, and never stop writing!

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