In this post, we tell you what a short story is and how to know if you’re writing one.
What exactly makes a short story a short story?
The answer is simple, according to Google, and comes down to word count:
I don’t exactly agree that a novelette must be light, romantic or sentimental. It may just be that it is more common in the romance genre, so please don’t limit yourself.
How do I know which one I am writing?
When I start writing a short story I ignore the word count. I simply use the prompt and I write. The ideas come out of that. Sometimes I have a cool idea, but I don’t reach 1000 words when I need 3000 words, for example. There are times when you can stretch and add scenes, but that depends on your story.
Sometimes you’ll have to bomb the story if your word count doesn’t work out, but save it, because you can use it for something else if you love it. We’ll discuss expanding and reducing in detail in a later post. Don’t get hung up on your word counts before you start. Just write and explore your story, it will seem stilted or contrived otherwise. You can hammer it into shape later.
The most important part of this post I want you to keep in mind is the description of the short story: a fully developed theme. The word count might be reduced, but that doesn’t mean we want less story. It is still a complete story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Happy Short Story Writing.
Look out for the next post: The Complete Guide To Evaluating Your Short Story
Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a short story, sign up for our online course.
by Mia Botha
Buy Mia’s book on how to write short stories: Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice
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