They might not take as long to complete as an epic novel. You won’t, in most instances, be putting in weeks, months or even years of research. But if anybody ever told you that writing short stories was easy, they were very wrong. And the hardest part of all is getting started.
Your ideas are there, and some are very strong, but they’re jumbled. Characters are coming to life in your mind. You think your story could be great, and you’re desperate to get in on paper.
Stop there. When writing fiction, planning is everything. Here are a few tips on how to write the perfect short story outline.
|Get those characters right|
Note down and play around with your dialogue
You may have snippets of conversation between characters in your head, or just single lines of dialogue you want to fit in but are not sure what to do with yet. That’s fine; just get them all written down. Say them aloud. They may appear very different in both instances than they initially did in your head – you might decide you no longer want to keep them at all! And that’s fine. Change and adjust accordingly. Don’t be afraid of a little experimentation – no harm will come from it!
Now write that outline!
It’s time to get your beginning, middle and end down onto paper. Be detailed – don’t just make quick notes, use full sentences. Note down when the dialogue you have written and planned will be used and who by. Don’t just rely on your memory, get those tiny but important details in there too. You’ll be surprised how easily they might slip your mind when it comes to drafting, and one little slip could ruin your entire piece. Don’t write it like a synopsis; think of your story in chunks. How big or small these chunks are is up to you, but use a bullet point to describe what is going to unfold in each one. Make sure everything is in order.
Polish and modify
|One day, one day.|
All done? You’re ready to go. Good luck!
Sometime in the near future, when your short story is completed, edited and ready for anything, you might be thinking about trying to get it seen by a publisher. Why not give Any Subject Books a try? They always welcome new talent, and if they see true potential in your work you might find yourself on their list of authors very soon indeed! Their submission process and guidelines are simple to follow and can be found on their 'Writers Wanted' page.