As a writer, regardless of what kind of story you are writing, there’s always some room for improvement. With literature, there’s never an end to how well one can express oneself while also dragging the readers into the story with them. This is difficult, but even more so in short stories, as they can’t contain as much content as you would typically deliver with a proper novel.
Writing short stories is also a great way to improve your writing, as you don’t have to invest all your time and effort; instead, experiment with your craft and find what you are looking for. Want to learn how to improve as a short story writer? Are you making these four short stories mistakes? Learn how to fix them down below!
1. A Slow Start
There are several elements of a great short story, among which the starting of the story is important. In a short story, the pacing plays a vital role; as mentioned above, you don’t have as much content space as you usually would. This is why a slow start to lure in your audience won’t work!
The approach of starting your writing slowly is a problem in any kind of story, whether it’s long or not, because a lot of the audience might get bored if you don’t keep them entertained from the get-go. In a short story, every word has double the value, and you must put them to good use.
Are you making this surprising short story mistake? Here’s how you fix it. Instead of asking the reader to get on the ride for a journey through your story with their heart, give them something they can’t refuse. Make it intriguing and exciting from the get-go so they become hungry for more. Offer them the plot, the protagonists, and a general view into the world of your imagination, and they are bound to continue to the next page.
2. A Bad Hook, Or No Hook at All
Another mistake a writer might make while working on a short story is not putting in the effort to properly hook the readers into their story. A “hook” is quite literally meant to reel in your audience and failing to do so will be put a major impact on whether your story turns into a success or not.
Without a hook, the audience is bound to get bored quickly. For example, imagine your writing a detective story, do you think that the audience will be intrigued without knowing what kind of investigation the protagonist is leading? If your answer is no, then you already have a general idea of what you need to do.
Are you making this surprising short story mistake? Here’s how you can become better. Use your hook as a type of set-up for the rest of the plot. Get your reader interested and wondering without making them too confused that they become frustrated. Next, try dropping them right into the middle of the action as quickly as possible while creating unique characters to fill up the world. And lastly, thicken the plot as you go, so that the reader can’t wait to pick up where they last left off.
3. Dumping Plot On the Reader
If your reader feels overwhelmed while reading your short story, then chances are they might leave it on the shelf to collect dust after reading the book a few times. After all, it’s a short story, it doesn’t have much space for dumping new characters and new plot lines every few pages.
Not only does it make it hard for the reader to understand the plot, but it also takes away from the emotional depth and intensity that you can build while focusing on a concise plot with just the key characters.
Are you making this surprising short story mistake? We’ve got you covered! What you want to do here, is give them such a compelling story that the book remains on their must-read list until they are completely finished with it. Experiment with the plot and the characters until you find the perfect harmony; the perfect mix that makes the reader thrilled to read your book till the end.
Additionally, ask yourself what you plan with these characters and plot lines that you are putting into the world of your story. Are they really critical, will the reader be able to enjoy the transitions from one page to another? Is it really necessary for certain elements to be present? The more you experiment the better you will be able to see and get a hold of a set path for the book.
4. Don’t Leave the Reader Hanging
One of the biggest complaints from readers is that their favorite novel or short story ended too abruptly, and it left them yearning for more. Although this is great for keeping them intrigued for the next installment of a book with new issues releasing soon, it’s not suitable for short stories as they rarely have a second installment.
Furthermore, this will also have a negative impact on you as a writer as well. Negative reviews are a big thing now, and people pay a lot of attention to what the critics and the general public have to say before trying it out themselves.
So how can we fix this mistake? Well, if you’ve heard that your book feels unfinished, then there are most certainly ways for improvement. Take a look into the story; even though some things are better off left to the reader’s personal interpretation, it doesn’t mean that you should not put a full stop on all the plot lines you branched out.
People want to know what happens at the end of their favorite story, and giving that to them is critical. Give them the facts and the entire plot, and let them depict and judge the plot and its characters. And lastly, remember that you can always find inspiration from reading books, so read and find your own writing traits!
The key takeaway here is that as a writer honing your craft truly has no limit since literature continues to grow with time. So in an ocean of writers, find your angle of narrating a short story and ensure that it doesn’t contain any mistakes you might regret in the future.
We hope this article prevented you from making these surprising short story mistakes, and we wish you good luck in your future endeavors.