FREE Writing Resources ~ 10 Tips for Writing Short Stories

December 2018

I posted this one first in September 2014:

Well, as my nicely figured plan for blogging this month went totally bust on Tuesday I had to think a little. If I cannot introduce you to great ways of building a world what else could I do?
I have gained some taste for writing short fiction or short stories and therefore I visited another page to get some tips.

“Writers in the Storm” is a blog which is written by professional writers who polish their work for publication and along the way share their experience with others. They have moved from the blog location to a permanent site since and I will give you the link at the end of this post.

The blog post I am referring to is by Lyn Horner, who usually writes historical romance novels of considerable length, but when she agreed on taking part in an anthology of short stories she had to learn a lot.

She explains it quite easy going in the blog post and made me laugh. But the good thing is, she shared her learning experience with us and gives us some tips on how to get on the short story train.

Here they are taken from “Writers in the Storm”:

  • Settings must be bare-bones; no flowery descriptions.
  • Don’t dilly-dally. Jump quickly into the action. Your opening must grab the reader and make them want to read on.
  • Avoid passive voice and choose strong verbs. Use adverbs sparingly, especially ones that end in “ly.”
  • In most cases, stay in one point of view. If you must use two POVs as I did in mine, stick to one per scene; NEVER head hop.
  • Forget delving deep into your characters’ thoughts, memories and motivation. There’s no room for much introspection. If backstory is important, make it concise.
  • Every word should move the story along; sentences are like paragraphs, paragraphs are like pages in a book.
  • Don’t show off; fancy words can be a turnoff. Write in a way readers can relate to and easily understand. If someone is reading your short story on their lunch break, they don’t want to hunt for words in a dictionary.
  • Actions speak louder than words. Show emotions through body language, facial expressions and dialogue.
  • Catch your characters off guard. An unexpected event, whether good or bad, gives the reader a jolt of surprise.
  • Conclude paragraphs and scenes with action; don’t summarize what’s happened. Save the best for last. End your story with a dramatic punch that sticks in a reader’s mind.

I like the way she put it all down in a down to earth way. If you follow those rules your short stories should get where they are supposed to get. Into the reader’s hands and mind.


Writers in the Storm ~ Ten Tips for Writing a Short Story                                               

Lyn Horner                                                                                                              

Writers in the Storm homepage


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