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How to Write an Engaging Short Story

You might be thinking that writing a novel as compared to a short story is very difficult. If so, then you are in for a surprise! Technically thinking, short stories are way harder to write. So here are a few tips to make the process smoother.

TIP 1: MANAGE THE WORD LIMIT: Most amateur writers find the limited word count to be a major problem. Generally, short stories are of around 2000-5000 words. This may look like a big number to you, but once you begin writing, you get swept in the flow and fly past the limit. And then you end up cutting out paragraphs, which really stilts the language of your writing. So my advice is, plan ahead how your story is going to pan out and roughly divide the words according to it. This will help you write a coherent and well-paced story.

TIP 2: POLISH UP YOUR OPENING LINES: It is rightly said that the first impression is usually the last impression. If your reader gets bored reading the first passage, then he won’t read further. So, take special care while editing the first few paragraphs of your story. Subtly drop a hint or two about your plot and introduce the lead characters in an unorthodox way and in simple but graceful language.

TIP 3: CONDENSE THE DESCRIPTIONS: Long and vivid descriptions may seem to look very promising, when in fact they are quite tedious to the reader. And anyway, if you eat up half of the word count describing things, how are you going to move the story forward? Hence, to keep your story reader friendly, shorten the descriptions.

TIP 4: PUT YOURSELF IN THE READER’S SHOES: This might seem like a weird thing to do, but I have observed it to be quite effective. Tell the story the way you want it to be told to you. Keep in mind the reader’s whims, feelings and desires as you take him through your story. This enables readers to feel a personal connection as well as keep your language succinct.

TIP 5: CRAFT A POWERFUL TITLE: This isn’t as easy a job as many people think. Still, finding an appropriate and eye-catching title for your story is mandatory if you want to catch readers’ or publishers’ attention. Also, try to avoid one- or two-worded titles, as they do not seem unique. But how will you find that perfect title? You can ask other people to read your work and tell you which phrases strike them as special. Who knows, maybe the title will be born from these excerpts!

At last, I hope these tips will help you write some wonderful stories… and I wish you the best for your writing career! Cheers!

Chris Wightman-



Seventeen year old blogger, writer and interviewer. Also a voracious reader. My interests include classic books, archaeology, world history and politics. Staunch advocate for wildlife conservation and animal adoption. Debut novel to be out soon!

8 thoughts on “How to Write an Engaging Short Story

  1. Excellent pointers for a gripping short story.

    Prapti, I would add plenty of reading of
    a) great short story writers’ works and
    b) published short stories which made to the print!

    Hone one’s grammar and practice word selection


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right! The more you read, the more your writing improves! And who doesn’t appreciate a wider vocabulary? Thanks for sharing 🙂


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