When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there. If you have ever been interested in creative writing and storytelling, you have surely read this phrase somewhere. Certainly, besides being a phrase, this is one of the well-known short stories.
Created by Agusto Monterroso, ‘The Dinosaur'(‘El dinosaurio’) held the title of the shortest short story from 1959 until 2005, when ‘The migrant'(‘El emigrante’), by Mexican writer Luis Felipe Lomelí, was published. This second best-known short story went like this:
– ‘Are you forgetting something?
– I wish I did!
Curious, isn’t it? Will you join the writers from WowEssay in the fantastic world of literature and short stories? Come on!
What are short stories?
Short stories are short narratives devised by one or more people in which a series of events are presented. As their name suggests, they are characterized by having a short duration. Therefore, they should not exceed 2,000 words. However, they should not be under 400 words since it would be recognized as a micro-story or flash story.
This does not mean that it is more or less interesting or intelligent. In fact, short stories are one of the most useful types of narrative to start writing. This is because constructing this type of text is easier (or not! It depends).
Tips to start writing short stories
If you want to start writing but don’t know how to do it and panic about the blank page, here are some tips that may help you.
1. Find a pretext to write
Make the ‘writing moment’ mean something to you. Some people find it helps them to relax, some have fun writing down their ideas, and some manage to distract themselves from their daily obligations. Look for and locate what sensations and feelings it provokes in you and take advantage of them!
2. The craziest ideas, the best ones
You want to write, but you can’t think of any topic or idea to develop. Don’t worry, and it’s normal at first. The best thing to do is always carry a notepad with you always to have something to write about. You’re taking the subway to work, and you see something curious? Write it down!
One of the best bets for generating ideas you can make is to become an observer. Look, think and take notes. This way, you can also expand your creative capacity.
3. Fictionalized reality
Although it is a concept that is often used in the world of television documentaries, apply it to literature. Are you stuck in imagining stories? Start creating fiction from something very real: your dreams.
This trick will put you on the track to start writing stories about things that haven’t happened. As strange as it may seem, starting to write short stories from dreams is common!
4. I remember…!
Rephrase your memories. Surely you have a past story that can serve as a starting point for one of your first short stories. Dust off your memory and get in front of a keyboard. Starting a text with the phrase, ‘I remember…’ will serve as a starting point.
5. Structure your short stories
Once you have chosen your theme or central idea, plan the beginning, development, and outcome you intend to give it. Keep in mind that your main idea may change while you’re at it. Don’t worry if you end up changing your mind or coming up with something you think is better. It is normal, and what will make us learn will be precisely that: writing.
6. From nothing to everything, create randomly
Create a text from nothing. Here is another resource if you can’t think of dreams, memories, or themes! This one will also strengthen your creative abilities. Choose one of the five senses (taste, smell, touch, hearing, sight). From this choice, brainstorm words that you think are related.
For example, if you choose to taste, write down your favorite dish, its ingredients, where was the last place you ate it, and with whom… When you have a good list of ideas, choose the 15 best ones. And from this fortnight, try to write a story.
The characters of short stories
If you like literature, you will know that the characters are one of its most exciting factors. As the reading progresses, you get to know them in-depth and develop feelings towards them. You can hate them, love them or feel a connection with them.
Create and define very well how each character that appears in your short stories will be. One of the advantages of doing it through these short stories is that their description (through the narrative) is more direct. Readers should recognize what personality they have in a very short time. Plot their words and actions well to have a hook in your short stories.
The art of cutting out
Do you remember the cut-outs that the little ones play with? Well, something similar happens with short stories. You will probably cut out half of what you say in your story’s first version. Learning to cut and synthesize is not easy, but it will help you create a more natural piece of literature. Readability is very important.
Among the tricks that work best for trimming are the following:
Forget descriptions of actions if you can replace them with sentences that summarize. For example, if you want to explain a bus ride. From the idea, “Joan took the bus to go to London at 9.00 a.m. and took the opportunity to call Linda”. What is important for your story? The call, right? Well: “She made the call on the bus.”
Goodbye to adjectives.
The dialogues are minimalist and expressive. If they don’t add anything to your plot, eliminate them.
As long as it is not strictly necessary for your short stories, forget interior monologues. They hinder the action and plot of your text.