- It is a good idea to have a few really good stories that you tell well. Adapt these to the task you have been given.
a SHORT beginning and a SHORT ending – most of the story should be the
middle where things happen and characters think and feel.
a resolution in your ending (e.g. solving a problem) and refer to it in
the beginning – a good short story has the reader wondering how a
problem is going to be resolved - and then it is.
- Plan you last sentence – ending with a punch leaves your reader smiling. This is the time to be original.
your reader informed of what is happening, and what characters are
thinking and feeling – we cannot read your mind. If it isn’t written in
the story it doesn’t happen
- DON’T start lots of sentences with the same word –read it over to check and cross out or substitute words to avoid this.
some direct speech in your story ( with correct punctuation) AND AT
LEAST ONE piece of indirect speech –avoid using “said” (something like
“the doctor replied that he had seen spots like this before but only on a
ladybird.” Or “Katy thought to herself that she had never seen such a
strange sight in all her life.”)
at least five minutes to check your story for all of your target points
– a finished and corrected story is 100 times better than an unfinished
and hurried one – whatever the style and standard.
you are stuck, or taking a break, read the story over to yourself under
your breath but mouthing the words – if it sounds right when you read
it out it is probably OK. If you pause when you are reading then check
there is a pause marker (like a comma or fullstop).
- Avoid telling the reader what to feel, e.g. it was scary. Make them feel it through your descriptions.
telling the reader what a character feels, e.g. she was sad. Show how
they feel through what they say or do, e.g. her lip trembled.
- Keep thinking ‘what would this person do/say?’
- Develop the setting.
create suspense, lull the reader into a false sense of security – get
characters doing something pleasant and introduce an unexpected
- Know your ending so you don’t include irrelevant details.
- Limit dialogue to four exchanges per paragraph.
- Develop setting and characters through descriptive sentences.
- Keep a brisk pace. Short and interesting is great!
your story on paper. Think who is it about? What is going to happen in
the end? What exciting and interesting things will happen along the
- A ‘punchy’ start that ‘grabs’ the readers attention, such as speech, onomatopoeia or a piece of great description.
- Three well described characters (looks, experiences and personality)
- A conversation to show direct speech and new speech, new line.
- A well structured story, having a beginning, middle and an appropriate end.
- When you have finished. Read your story VERY carefully, asking yourself, ‘Does this make sense?’ If it doesn't, change it!'