Written by A Guest Author June 9th, 2022

What To Keep In Mind When Writing a Short Story

By Abdulraheem Jameel Ango

Short stories are a compact, effective and short-winded form of prose. Though they may be brief, a good short story can serve to present to the reader a fascinating, evocative piece of work in a short period of time and also leave a profound impression on the reader’s mind. So much so, they can be as effective as or even rival the effect of longer forms of prose. Short stories are short-cuts to the realm of creativity and imagination.

Here are three things to keep in mind that will help you write better short stories.

1. Make it complete but concise.

The average word count of a short story is around 3,000 to 5,000 words. A short story may have a short lifespan, but it does deserve to live its life to the fullest. No matter how brief your story is, keep in mind that you’re still writing a story – one you want your audience to relate with and invest in – therefore your story shouldn’t be limited to the most basic elements a short story is touted to only have. It should include in the very least a couple of vital elements that would help bring out the color of any story. A little suspense, intrigue and a twist or two will immensely help give your story the perfect touch it needs. Remember you’re writing a ‘short’ story and not a plain one, which in effect should be a depiction of any good long-form prose. A good short story should be able to give the reader the thrilling experience of reading any long piece of prose albeit in a short period of time. It should open up a window to the world of creativity and wonder. However, make sure any element you add to your story is concise and serves the sole purpose of developing it and moving it forward. After all, brevity is key, for a short story.

2. Use clear but evocative descriptions.

Descriptions are crucial aspects of each and every story, they add effect, and a story won’t be complete without them. That being said, adding descriptions to short stories calls for careful consideration and creativity. You want to avoid writing effusive descriptions that are verbose, nor do you want too-short, meager ones that don’t deliver. The middle ground is to use precise, clear but evocative descriptions. It is imperative that your descriptions be vivid, comprehensive and be able to flick a switch in the mind of the reader. See this description from a Sherlock Holmes story, for instance.

“He was a tall, handsome youth about thirty, well-dressed and elegant but with something in his bearing which suggested the shyness of the student rather than the self-possession of the man of the world.” ~ The Adventure of the Creeping Man, by Arthur Conan Doyle

A well-written description delights the reader and complements the work of all other elements in the story. The above description is designed to evoke ideas. Notice how the writer brilliantly, succinctly laid out to the reader all essential features of the character, and sprinkled a bit of intrigue for effect.

3. Pour your heart into it.

Your story will only be as good as the effort you put into it. For your story be well-composed, to have the desired impact, it only makes sense to put in as much effort as you’d put in long-form prose. Regardless of the good elements added to a story, without putting in the required effort, it’d remain a body without a soul. Mediocre effort can only produce unsatisfactory results. But if you put passion, skill, and devotion into a story, it will show; it’ll ultimately give the body of your story a soul to hold it up, animate and steer it.

Bio: Abdulraheem Jameel Ango is a freelance writer with years of experience, that has written for a wide range clients and businesses. Find out more at: https://medium.com/@abdulwrites




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