What advice would you give the beginning writer who wants to write a short story?

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Answered by: Gregory, An Expert in the Write Short Stories Category
Writing can be a great hobby. It's a fun way to exercise your brain and burn off stress. And if you're good enough, it can also be a great way to make a little extra money- a select few might even become a second career. But if you are new it can be difficult to know how to get started. Here's a little advice on how to write a short story.

The first step in writing a short story is coming up with a good story idea. One way to do this is to have an old fashioned brain storming session. Just sit and write all your ideas down, no matter how strange of silly they are. Write down everything that comes to mind. Even your wildest, strangest ideas; Don't hold anything back.

Once you're done, go back and look at what you've come up with. Not every idea is a winner, but with enough time, you should be able to come up with an idea that strikes your fancy as something you can develop into a story. Once you find it (it may take several brainstorming sessions), start writing.

The second step is to develop your idea. Figure out what kind of story you want to tell and focus on that. Want to write a romantic comedy? Great! Maybe your idea strikes you as a horror tale instead. Terrific! Maybe it's some strange combination of genres that no one has thought of before. Even better! Whatever you decide, start writing and see what happens.

When you start writing, don't worry about editing at first. Just put everything down and let the creative juices flow. Once you get finished you can go back and fix spelling and grammar mistakes, or polish ideas that emerged during the creative process.

To write a story that will be easy to read, remember to keep your dialog simple; Don't spend a lot of time making your characters speak in ways that may confuse your audience or use a lot of slang and regional dialect. Making your dialog hard to read or relate to is an easy way to alienate your readers and cause them to lose interest in your story quickly. Don't make your lovestruck teenagers sound like Harvard professors, and don't make scientists speak like a 10 year old. If you have any doubts about what your characters are saying, speak their dialog out loud and listen to how it sounds. If it sounds weird when you hear it, then go back and change it.

Another tip to keep in mind when you write a short story is to keep it to a certain word count. Of course, length should ideally be determined by the audience you're seeking or where you hope to have your story published, but by keeping your story to about 3,500 words will help give you the most opportunities to sell your story, as many of the most successful short stories are around this length, and many editors look for stories of about this length when looking for new stories to print.

When you write a story, find an idea, decide what you want to say, write it down and then get your editing finished. Then you can work on trying to get it published. If you can't decide what you want to write about, look around online for contests or open calls for assignments. Many times you can find someplace with a need for a certain story and that might be just the thing you need to get your writing career off the ground.

With a little prep and some hard work, you can write a story that will be interesting and well written, and if you find the right market, in high demand. Keep these simple tips in mind and no matter what happens, you'll be able to write something that you'll be proud of and call yourself a short story writer.

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