5 Top Tips for Writing Short Fiction Stories

There is no shortage of short fiction out there, which means there is a fair amount of competition in the world of publishing. Therefore, your work as an author needs to stand out. Here are five top tips for writing short fiction stories.

1) Understand What Makes a Short Fiction Story Different from a Novel – One of the biggest mistakes authors make when writing short fiction stories is to assume it’s the same as writing a long novel, only shorter. However, this is not the case. Though a short story and a novel do share some of the same characteristics, they are fundamentally different. As a short fiction author you will be writing within a word count and this means, unlike writing a novel, you need to hone in on a specific narrative and avoid waffle. You should avoid wasting your precious word count or information that is not necessarily needed.

2) A Fast Pace is Essential – When you are writing a short fiction story, a fast pace is essential. Unlike longer novels which can take some time to build, a short fiction story needs to engage the reader and get into the heart of the story relatively quickly. This is why you will find many short fiction books will be ‘go, go, go’ from the very beginning.

3) Have a Character Worth Caring About – It’s important to have a character your readers care about, as this will encourage them to stick with the story and root for them throughout the book. You can encourage a connection between your reader and character by making them passionate, determined and a weakness your reader can relate to.

4) Create Some Sort of Conflict – As is the case with any type of book, a short fiction story needs some sort of conflict. This could involve a character having a dilemma, being faced with a difficult decision, struggling morally or finding themselves in trouble. Conflict creates tension, which keeps readers invested in the story from beginning to end.

5) Don’t Have Too Many Characters – In a short fiction story, it’s difficult to fully develop a large number of characters within the word limit. Therefore, it’s best to keep to a small number of characters. You may go as far as having one character, though most short fiction works have three or four. This gives readers a choice of who to like, dislike and connect with.

At Foreshore Publishing, we are always taking short fiction submissions Simply send a synopsis and manuscript – keeping our guidelines in mind – and our editors will take a look. If your work is a good match, we will be in touch with a publication offer.

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