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How to write a short story and get published!

Everyone has a story to tell. You have a story too. (Or maybe more than one). That's why you are here. The hardest part though is WRITING IT!

Writing a story is an overwhelming hard job to do, right?

But believe it or not, when you know how to do it, it's not hard. it's just overwhelming.

So without any further ado, let's learn how to write a short story.

In this article we are going to learn about:

Scenario, Focus, Outline, Point of View, Synopsis, Climax, First Paragraph, Story Title, Rewrite, and Publications.


First things first, Before writing a short story, we need to remind ourselves constantly that writing a short story is different from a novel. The most obvious feature is that there is LESS SPACE for developing the characters, LESS SPACE for long dialogues, and LESS SPACE to create a complicated plot.


The scenario of your short story is the concept or idea that sets the narrative in progress and opens up dramatic opportunities. The plot of a short story usually offers these elements:

Single Image, Symbol, Idea, or a concept underlying.

To find an original scenario for the SHORT STORY, try to write your idea in a sentence or two.

Ex: A woman tries to murder her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, and serves the cooked evidence to the investigators. (Roald Dahl - Lamb of the Slaughter)


When you are about to start your short story, you might think: "It's just a short story. Why should I waste my time with an outline? I know what am I doing!"


It provides you with artistic inspiration and helps keep your writing organized. When you are writing a short story, you don't have a lot of time to develop your character.

Outline these elements of your character:

- Physical appearance

- Personality

- Occupation

- Back story

- Interests

- Role in the story

Outline these elements of your setting:

- Where the story takes place?

- What is important about this environment.


Who is to tell the story?

As a writer, you need to choose wisely the perspective from which the story is going to be told. Select a POV that helps you to develop your character better and convey the story more effectively.

- First Person (I, we)

- Third Person (He, She, It) - Could be limited single character knowledge or omniscient all-knowing.

- Second Person (You, Your)


After choosing your scenario, character, and a proper POV, you need to settle down and answer some questions honestly.

What is your main and central idea?

Why are you writing about this topic?

Discover your intentions and figure out what you want to do through the story. Don't get distracted and stick to your central message. Once again, you don't have a lot of time to rumble on. EVERY WORD COUNTS!


A brief summary or general survey of the story. Write a ONE PAGE synopsis for yourself. You might say: "I already outlined my story! What are you talking about?!"

This might sound a little bit confusing but you will get an overview of the positive and week points of your plot by doing it even as an assignment.

When you saw the pros and cons of your plot, you could easily keep the essential parts and cut out the dull fillers and avoid boring details.


You may hear a lot that the first paragraph is one of the most important parts of a novel to absorb the reader's attention (and of course editors/publishers too).

That is definitely a fact.


Having a bad climax and resolution is more dangerous than having just a simple opening!


But you don't have to put a lot of time to write a great paragraph before getting your first draft done. Eventually, you need to go back and rewrite and polish your story. If you make a big hook at the beginning, you must have a huge climax and a great resolution as well. So, if we want to be a little more precise about it: DON"T START WITH A BIG HOOK IF YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE OF PROVIDING A GREAT CLIMAX AND A REASONABLE RESOLUTION.

That being said, the thing you want to consider for your opening is that it should foreshadow the upcoming events. So the development of the plot could be foreshadowed by presenting key topics and themes. It should arouse curiosity and provoke questions.

Once again. You don't have a lot of time. Straightly get to the meat of the story. You have a limited word count for short stories. If you don't cut the unnecessary details out, your editor will. (Or in the worst-case scenario you won't get published)


In short stories, the climax offers the plot a form and meaning. The climax may be dramatically compelling or may be an unexpected revelation by the reader. For example, a character was misleading the whole time or an explosive confrontation that appeared impossible from the beginning of the story.

Besides the surprise element you could consider these strategies to end your story:

- Open Ending: The reader should piece together the implications of the final pages.

- Resolved Ending: The outcome is clear. The purpose of the result is evident and follows the cycle of cause and effect of the previous events.

-Full Loop: An opening picture or event returns in a circular structure. Return to the beginning.

There are many ways to end your story. Here are 8 ways to have a proper ending.


The critical revision process starts after the last full stop.

When writing a short story, rewriting is as important as it is when writing a novel. Your probability of being published is significantly improved by a polished story.

What to check when rewriting:

- Deal with the expectations. The goals laid out on the first page should be answered.

- All content, characters, dialogues, and scenes that do not add to the purpose of the story should be deleted. Cut everything unnecessary.

- Every line matters. In other words, each line should contribute something important to the story's overall effects.


This could stay to come last so you can concentrate on writing the main story.

There are, at least, 2 aspects a perfect title produces:


The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye.


The Oldman and The Sea, The Call of The Wild, The House of The Seven Gables


Short stories have many publications possibilities. This is one of the advantages of writing a short story either as a practice for writing a novel.

- Literary journals and magazines

- Writing competitions

- Online publications

- Digital journals

If you are not yet an established author, it could be better to get published on a digital platform like an online creative writing journal. However break the limits and send your short story everywhere. (If your short story meets the requirements.)

If you needed any review or consult on your story, we can help you.

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