How to Write Great Short Stories that Engage Audiences

Nearly everyone has dreamed of being a writer at some point or another. Maybe it’s because something funny or tragic happened to them and they want to share it with the world or perhaps that’s always been their dream; in any case, writing is not as easy as it looks. If you want to get your feet wet in the pond of writing, you might want to start out with writing a few short stories. They’re less intimidating than a novel, much simpler to create, and are often more powerful than longer works. Here’s what you need to do to create a great short story.

Have an Idea

While it seems like common sense, you need to start off with a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your short story. Too often, new writers will just begin to write without any direction and this can lead to scattered story telling and problems with writing continuity. Instead, sit down and begin to sketch out the story that you want to tell. You might not follow these ideas precisely, but they will allow you to have at least a direction n which to continue writing.

You might want to do a few brainstorming exercises to start building up your entire story’s contents. For example, you can use a main idea and place it in the middle of a piece of paper, then draw lines coming out of this main idea for secondary ideas of story pieces.

Meet your Characters

Even if you are writing about people in your life, you want to make up a list of the characters you are using in your story. Beside each name, talk about who this person is, what their bad habits are, what they look like, what their role is in the story, etc. Just like when you were writing out your ideas for the story itself, if you can not visualize your characters clearly, how can you describe them to your reader?

Write, Write, and Write Some More

What many people don’t realize about writing is that it’s actually something that can not be taught as much as it can be experienced. Better put, you need to write in order to learn how to write. This requires that you begin to write on a more consistent basis without stopping to consider whether or not you are saying something ‘right.’ The key to writing well is that you need to be writing over and over again, without trying to perfect anything yet.

To do this, you might want to designate a time each day in which you write for so many pages or so many hours before you are done. At the end of each session, keep your papers or files handy to add to them at the start of the next session. When you finally feel like you have run out of ideas, you can then go back and edit what you have, crafting it into a story.

How to Engage Your Audience

If you have a compelling story, you will grab your audience’s attention. However, there are other tricks that you can use in order to really pull your reader into the story you are trying to tell.

  • Be honest about what you are writing about – Too often, writers will try to overdo their stories or their characters in order to make them more ‘interesting,’ while it’s actually being honest that really sells your story.
  • Be ready to expose the details – Remember that you always need to be as detailed as possible because the story you have in your head needs to become apparent on the piece of paper for the reader that doesn’t know the story
  • Write as if everyone you know is dead – This is especially important when you are trying to write about people that you know. You always need to write as though you are writing about strangers and that no one you know is going to read it (it will keep you honest).