• Kayleigh Idea

5 Tips To Writing An ENGAGING Short Story (Guest Post by Issabelle from TWN)

Today, we're having the first ever guest post on my blog! Please join me in welcoming the amazing Issabelle!

Issabelle is the one of the co-founders of Teen Writers' Nook and a young author who I can tell you is definitely going places! (Make sure you go check out, TWN after reading this post!) Today, she's teaching us about how to write an engaging short story. Issabelle is the author of Fairly Impish, which is a short story that was published in Owl Hollow Press’s Change the World: All-Teen Anthology, so she knows what she's talking about!

Without further ado, here it is!


Heeeelllllooooo writer/reader on the other side of the internet. Ah, yes, if Kayleigh hasn’t already given it away in the title of this wonderful post, then this is obviously not the blogger we have all come to know and love. (Me to myself: okay, girl, when did you get a more professional side? *scratches head*) *cough* Moving on. So, yeeeaaahhh, I’m Kayleigh’s self-proclaimed BFF, IIIISSSSAAAABBBBBEEEELLLLEEEE!!!!!!! Yes, my name has that many letters in it. XD Some of y’all may know me from Teen Writers’ Nook, a site where me and my sistas encourage teen writers. I’m a teen published author and today I’m going to be stealing Kayleigh’s fantabulous blog to give you lovely readers some awesome tips that will help you create the most incredible short story humanly possible!!! *cheers fill the blogosphere*

#1 Your Title Has Never Been More Crucial!

Your title and opening line are SO MUCH MORE important in a short story than a novel. Why? Because you don’t have a lot of time to grab your readers. You need to be able to hook them into the story as soon as possible and what better way to do that than with an AMAZING title? Take my short story “Fairly Impish” that was published in Owl Hollow Press’s Change the World: All-Teen Anthology. I had made sure to spend a little extra time making sure my title and opening line (which was: They called me many things.) were as awesome as possible and I really think that extra time paid off!!

#2 Keep the Cast As Small As Possible

As has been stated, you don’t have a lot of time in a short story, so don’t waste what you do have with small, unimportant characters! Keep your cast with only as many characters as needed to tell the story and if you do have a few minor ones, don’t spend too much time focusing on them. In “Fairly Impish,” though there were a few small characters who only had a brief moment, the story was mainly centered around Aria, the main character, and Saber.

#3 You MUST Start the Story Where Something Is Happening!

Again, the story is short and it is SOO important to grab the reader immediately. If you want a story readers will love and cling to for more, you cannot risk starting it where nothing exciting is happening. Unlike in a novel, stories must start either right at the inciting incident or only a few pages away from it. My published short story began about three or four pages before the inciting incident, but, even though the beginning didn’t have a lot going on, the very first paragraph was already starting to leave the readers with questions and draw them in for more.

#4 Avoid Any Extra Information that Is Not Important for the Story

You don’t have a lot of time for backstories and it’s even more crucial to avoid info dumping. For short stories it is okay if the readers don’t know the characters past histories or even future events. Short stories focus on what is happening in the characters life here and now.

#5 Give the Reader a Few Interesting Facts about the Main Character

I mean, what’s the best way to keep a reader engaged? You give them characters to root for! But there’s not a whole lot of room for character development in a story, right? I was watching a video once on tips for how to write an awesome short story and the gal doing the video had said to give the reader at least three interesting facts about the character near the beginning. In doing this, you create a character that is not dull in a short amount of time. I must admit, I don’t always follow this because oftentimes my characters will take shape without me having to give a few interesting facts, but there are times when I just feel like my leading character needs a bit more development, so I’ll toss in some random things which really help.

So, yep, there are my five tips to help you write a short story that is engaging and thrilling. Lemme know in the comments which tip was your favorite or one you hadn’t heard of before! (Oooh, let’s do something fun. In the comments give three interesting facts about yourself!!!) THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH to the FANTABULOUS Kayleigh for lending me her blog for today’s post and thank YOU, reader, for taking the time to read! I hope it was somewhat helpful!!! <333 For now, as always, Keep Writing!

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