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How to start writing a short story : Taking the first step

how to start writing a short story

Do you feel like you have great ideas in your head which can be shaped into beautiful short stories? But you don’t know how to start writing; how to prepare yourself for it. I experienced the same thing, and many writers do, in their early phase. Now I’m certainly not a veteran writer; nowhere near it. It’s been hardly 2 years since I started writing properly and I’m still brushing up my skills. But I want to share with you all, what helped me getting started. It was just a journal entry that taught me how to start writing a short story.

Get comfortable with writing, in general

If you want to write a short story but you’ve never written anything before; anything as in an article, an essay, or even a journal entry, try writing and get comfortable with it. Writing articles helps you understand how to research for information and present it in an organised way. Writing essays helps you understand how to expand a topic and present it in a linear way. And writing a personal journal helps you get used to writing honestly, and in creating a writing habit. You can check out our post : Build a Daily Writing Habit – How To Write Everyday. Having a daily writing habit is the most helpful thing for improving your writing skills.

A journal entry was my first step towards writing a story

I’ve been maintaining a journal for the last 4 years now. Well I don’t write every single day, but I do it at least twice a week. Hmmm, I think I should do it every day …. Anyways. Coming to the journal entry that made me understand how to start writing a short story, taking the first step.

It was about a year ago, and I was wandering around in the town. It was a usual evening, but the day had been unusual. I had my journal with me and after walking aimlessly for a while, I decided to sit down somewhere and write something. So I went to the public garden of my town, which is my favourite place to write, and sat down at a secluded spot so that there’s minimal disturbance.

As soon as I opened my journal, I thought of narrating my day because I was feeling strange and I wanted to bring it out of my brain. Before that, I used to write about my day descriptively, like a report or something. This was the first time I wrote it in a narrative form, like I was telling a story. That’s what gave me the confidence that I will be able to write a short story effectively if I get used to these type of journal entries.

That’s how I took the first step, unintentionally! And it is very likely that it help you get comfortable with writing a story as well. So the first step you can take, is just sit down in the evening and write about your day. Narrate the story of your day. It doesn’t matter if it was a completely normal day, just narrate it.

Don’t describe it like – “I got up at 8 o’ clock in the morning, freshened up, and had breakfast. Then I got ready and went out with friends.” Instead write it like this – “After a few minutes of laying there with half open eyes, I finally decided to get out of my bed. It was 8 o’ clock in the morning, which took me by a mild surprise because that’s too early for me!” Something like that.

If you don’t understand how to write in a narrative way, take reference. If you take a look at some short stories, or a novel’s first chapter and how they start, you’ll get a good picture of how to do it. See how the sentences flow. It’s not necessary that you write in a first person narrative; you can also write in a third person narrative. For example, if we write the same thing I wrote above in a third-person narrative – “After 10 long minutes of laying down and staring at the ceiling, Aaron finally decided to step out of his bed. The clock showed 8’0 clock, to which he was mildly surprised because that’s a bit too early for him to wake up.”

Do this every day till you get comfortable with writing in a narrative style. And your first step of how to start writing a short story is completed!

What next?

So! You’ve been writing for a few days, narrating every day of your life in your journal. What next? If you think you are comfortable with narrative writing, and your flow is good enough to start writing a story, go ahead!

While this post was about the first step towards writing stories, I won’t explain a lot of details about the steps involved in building a story. But I’ll give a some quick tips according to whatever little I’ve learned so far.

Pick a theme for the story if you don’t already have one. Make an outline of the story; a brief outline will do. Brainstorm some things related to your topic and then start writing the description or summary of your story. Once you’re satisfied with everything, and you know everything is in place, start narrating your story! And don’t worry if you don’t get it right the very first time. It’s just a first draft which you later edit according to your needs. Keep writing and you’ll keep seeing improvement.

That was all. I hope sharing my experience helped you at least a little bit. Thank you for reading!

Want to build a daily writing habit? Here are 10 reasons to write everyday. Check them out and find your reason!

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