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K12 LibreTexts

Short Story Hints

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  • In no particular order, here are some hints to help get you started:

    • start your short story at an exciting part or near the end of the story
    • keep your story under 1,500 words.  Under 1,000 is even better.
    • limit your characters- have maybe less than 5 characters- more characters means more explaining what everyone is doing.
    • always choose suspense and action over death and bloodshed
    • write about characters you know, like kids your age- you know how kids think, avoid writing about adults
    • make up your characters- don't use friends' names or we will think about those kids instead of your characters
    • write about a place you know well and limit your story to one or two locations
    • limit your story to one day, a few hours is even better- more than that and characters have to eat, go to the bathroom, sleep, tell parents where they are...
    • create one big problem, have a solution that doesn't work and adds to the problem, then have a solution that works
    • a clever story doesn't end with "to be continued," it implies that more and different problems are to come in the future


    Still feeling lost?  The next page is a Wiki "How to Write a Short Story" site.  It's great for scanning through and checking out their suggestions.

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