This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken. Stephanie Wong Ken holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University. There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. For many writers, writing short story is the perfect medium. While writing a novel can be a Herculean task, just about anybody stories craft—and, most importantly, finish—a short story.
Learning to write
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Like a novel, a good short story will thrill and entertain your reader. With some brainstorming, drafting, and polishing, you can learn how to write a successful short story in no time. Come up with a plot or scenario. Think about what the story is going to be about and what is going to happen in the story. Consider what you are trying to address or illustrate. Decide what your approach or angle on the story is going to be.
You can also try a more complicated plot, like your main character wakes up in a parallel dimension or your main character discovers someone else’s deep dark secret. Focus on a complicated main character. Most short stories will focus on one to two main characters at the most. Think about a main character who has a clear desire, or want, but who is also full of contradictions. Do not simply have a good character or a bad character.
Give your main character interesting attributes and feelings so they feel complicated and well-rounded. Finding Inspiration: Characters are all around you. Spend some time people-watching in a public place, like a mall or busy pedestrian street. Make notes about interesting people you see and think about how you could incorporate them into your story. You can also borrow traits from people you know.
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