Have you ever thought about how to start writing a short story?
If you’ve been a writer for some time now, crafting a story may not be as difficult compared to when you first began. It’s natural to become better at something once you put some practice in.
However, there are times when I struggle with writing stories. Even though I’ve been a writer for the past 13 years.
This could be due to a number of reasons. It is unclear as to what the story is about because of multiple storylines. There are characters which may seem cool in theory yet are irrelevant in forwarding the plot. Or many events are unrelatable, especially when the context isn’t explained in ways that the reader can understand.
Although writing can be frustrating, it is important to keep going until your story comes to life. Great things take time, and they’re often worth it.
Luckily, this post is going to be a major help in your writing adventure. I will be diving more deeply into the process on how you can start writing a short story.
Make a list of your ideas
The first thing I recommend you do is to make a list of your ideas. Even if you kinda know what you want to write about, just write it down anyway. I met many people who say they want to write a story, but they never follow through with it.
Writing your ideas down makes the process more real. It’s not just thoughts in your head anymore. Your ideas start to come to life once you physically write them down.
Making this list starts to build structure and lays the foundation for your story.
For example, when it comes to building a house, people normally create a blueprint of the home first. Even before it becomes a finalized blueprint, the design of the home most likely originated from multiple sketches.
You will also see which idea or ideas that you want to begin with.
Here is my list of ideas I randomly thought of:
- A guy wants to be with the girl of his dreams, but he’s extremely shy.
- A woman wants to be a real estate mogul.
- An alien race kidnaps almost all humans from Earth, except for a select few who live underground.
There isn’t a limit on how many ideas you can brainstorm. I recommend starting with at least 3 to 5 ideas. And then you can keep going if you’re able to think of more.
Pick 1 idea and expand it
As for my second step on how to start writing a short story, pick one idea and expand it.
After you made your list, choose one idea and elaborate on it. I’ve written down a list of questions below to help you finesse the details.
- What is the main storyline?
- Who are your main characters? Protagonist? Antagonist? Supporting characters?
- What is the setting? Think of the time period and the place.
- What is the main conflict? Any secondary conflicts? Is the main conflict resolved by the end of the story? Why or why not?
- What are the most important events?
The idea I’ve chosen is my second one: A woman wants to be a real estate mogul.
Here is the list of details for my short story. I’ve also written these in order from the beginning, middle, and end.
- The main character’s name is Blair, and the story takes place in the 1990s in the US. Lawrence, her father has always been her biggest inspiration. He used to have a real estate business of his own. He wasn’t rich, but he was a smart man and he was on the road to getting there.
- Unfortunately, he got terminally ill and wasn’t able to focus on his business anymore. It went bankrupt. Before Lawrence died, he told Blair to always dream big and to reach for the stars. Just like he did.
- Blair is 28 now and married to her husband Henry. She’s been working lots of jobs and saved thousands in a separate bank account so that she can buy some rental properties for her dream of becoming a real estate mogul.
- One day, she checks her account and notices that there is no money anymore. She contacted the bank, and they told her Henry transferred the money to his own account.
- Blair is angry from hearing this. She confronts her husband, but Henry says he’s been struggling to pay the bills. His job changed and is not enough anymore. He also gets angry too and tells her that she needs to start acting like his wife again. Not a dreamer with their head in the clouds.
- Blair is devastated, so the next day, she packs her things and runs away, using their second car. She is now homeless for the next 3 years while she drives to different states, working on and off, while gradually buying properties and building her income.
- The fourth year is better because she is finally getting a stable income and is able to afford comfort. Blair also misses her husband terribly, but she hasn’t forgiven him for what he said before.
- She tries to forget about him and puts more effort into her blooming business. She becomes a millionaire in her fifth year.
- The president wants Blair to speak at the White House. It’s a conference to help empower women to do more in their lives and to also become leaders. This news is broadcasted all over TV, and Henry sees it and knows where Blair is now. He buys a plane ticket to head to Washington immediately.
- During the conference, Blair talks about her father and her journey of becoming a real estate mogul. But her speech is interrupted by Henry barging through the middle of the crowd and running to Blair.
- Henry is tackled by some secret service agents, but Blair tells them to let him go because he is her husband. The crowd is shocked to see that Blair is married since she never mentioned him as soon as she became famous.
- Henry apologizes for what happened before and wants them to be together again. The crowd also claims Henry is only here now because his wife is rich. At this point, Henry breaks down and cries in front of everyone.
- He says he doesn’t need his wife’s money. He just needs Blair. He said he wanted to at least apologize, even if they don’t get back together.
- This makes Blair cry. She runs over to her husband. They hug, kiss, and finally reconcile.
- She learns that while success is important, it’s nothing compared to the love between her and her husband.
Those are the details that outline my story in general.
Fill at least 1 to 3 pages
As for my last step, when you’re writing your short story, fill at least 1 to 3 pages. I feel like this is a good number for most people because it challenges you to write, but it’s not too much pressure.
If you want to see the final step and read the short story, I will share it in my next blog post.
In the meantime, you can check out the first 3 short stories I’ve written:
Thank you for reading my blog post! I appreciate it! 💜
Comment down below if you’re writing a short story. What is your experience like? Does writing come naturally to you? Or are you having trouble coming up with ideas?
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💜 Nicole 💜