Short fiction stories are a great way for writers to start their career in fiction writing. Without spending a lot of time and pages on development of characters, plots and setting, you can still effectively communicate an interesting story to readers in a single sitting. Here are a few guidelines that show you how to write short fiction stories effectively.
Short stories are also proper works of fiction, with a complete story
A short story is essentially a snapshot of a particular interesting event or experience, but in its entirety. It is still expected to answer the dilemma or solve the problem in the story. However, it can leave a lingering feeling of curiosity or make a strong impression upon the reader to know more. Good story telling is key in both short and full-length fiction works. The essentials are the same, and the difference lies in the format and content.
Short stories force you to use words efficiently
The short story format generally hovers around 3000 words. This means that you need to make every word count. A short story has to be a full piece of fiction with plots, characters, dialogue, twists, and other elements of story-telling. So, choose your words carefully, make them action based, and find the most compact and crisp way of description.
Short stories have a clear theme
Since the stories focus on just one or just a few events, there must be a strong underlying theme to the piece. If you take a snapshot of a certain experience, what would be the message or the importance of that particular snapshot? What hidden meaning prompted you to take an interest in it? Once the focus or theme of the story is clear, then it is easy to keep the writing focused on it, and trim away the unrelated parts.
Short stories describe a brief time span
Short stories often cover a single incident in time. So just jump right in and start your story with a bang. Don’t waste too much time explaining a character’s past or the background details. If the past history is relevant, just offer a quick glimpse of it and keep the story in the present.
Short stories have few but very interesting characters
Keep as few characters as you can in the plot, and even one single character can pull off the short story. However, strong and interesting characters are essential to hold the reader’s sympathy through the story. While you cannot afford to spend too many words in developing the character deeply, you still need to build a wonderful protagonist who can carry the whole story.
Short stories offer lots of room to experiment
Short fiction can actually be a very versatile writing form. You can write anything between 1000 words (called flash fiction) to 10,000 words. You can experiment a lot with genre and style. For example, science fiction, romance and suspense genres lend themselves particularly well to the short story format. Also, you can try changing the tone and voice, and write in first person, if you are used to writing in third person for longer works. By experimenting with styles outside your comfort zone, you might find one that works best for you in both short and full length fiction.
Image credit: CHRIS DRUMM on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]