Top Tips

If you’re working on a new short story, or dusting off an old one, some of these pointers might help.

  • A good title can set the scene, pose a question, create a riddle . . .
  • Take the reader straight into your story with an attention-grabbing first paragraph.
  • Get the plot right – every story needs a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • Choose your pace, and stick to it. Every sentence should drive the story forward.
  • Your ending should take the reader straight back into the story.
  • Show not tell. Descriptions should always leave space for the reader’s imagination, so be sparing with the adjectives.
  • Make sure your characters are authentic. You need to know them inside out, how they think and how they speak.
  • Is the dialogue realistic? The best test is to try reading out loud.
  • Be prepared to edit and re-edit. Read your story through, then read it again and again.
  • Believe in yourself. You’ve done the work and now it’s time to get that story out to its readers.

To enter the next WriteTime short story competition see here.