How To Write Short Stories – Part Ten – How to Write Ghost and Mystery Stories

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

Part Five – Point of View in Short Stories

Part Six – Dialogue in Short Stories

Part Seven – First or Third Person

Part Eight – Beginnings and Endings

Part Nine – How To Write Twist In The Tale Short Stories

Whether you believe in them or not ghost stories are really fun to read, they are real page turners. However writing them can be a bit of a challenge because there is a fine line between corny and scary. Hopefully this tutorial will be of good use to you when it comes to you writing your own!

–          Use your own experiences. If you have had an experience you felt was supernatural or know someone who has then use those for the basis of your story! Use it as your starting point of inspiration then expand from there.

–          You are allowed to use poetic license to turn something that is not scary into something that is terrifying. For example the scary noise you hear in your abandoned loft may actually be an old boiler but you can turn it around and choose something scary to make the noise.

–          Research ghost history on google or go to your local library and find some books on ghosts! This is for sure going to give you lots or inspiration to get your mind wurring!

–          Ghosts have characters too soo it is up to you whether you decide it is going to be like Casper (the friendly kind) or a mean scary one.

–          Spooky settings are just as important as the spooky characters! Build up the tension and scary atmosphere by describing eerie settings.

–          Get stuck in, who cares if it’s a little out there? I say the crazier and scarier the better!

–          As for mystery stories the best mysteries come from real life inspiration. Ask people what is the most mysterious thing that has happened to them, maybe an object moved in their house but nobody touched it? If you don’t ask people you will never know!

–          Watch a lot of detective programmes or films – Jonathan Creek, Sherlock Holmes, New Tricks… things like that!

Hope you have enjoyed my short story tutorials, if you have any questions about any parts (after all there is 10!) just comment below and I will answer them for you! 🙂

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How To Write Short Stories – Part Nine – How To Write Twist In The Tale Short Stories

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

Part Five – Point of View in Short Stories

Part Six – Dialogue in Short Stories

Part Seven – First or Third Person

Part Eight – Beginnings and Endings

A twist in the tale short story is exactly as it sounds, it is a story with a twist in the plot that changes the story completely. The twist is usually found towards the end. Here are a few helpful tips for you if you are writing your own twist in the tale short story.

–          It needs to take the reader by surprise! It can be as shocking or daring as you like.

–          The longer you can spin it out, the better! The later you leave it, the more shocking it will be.

–          Build it up slowly, drop a few clues here and there but do not make it really obvious. Make it so that when the reader has found out then re-reads the story they will think ‘ahh how did I miss that?!’ This often happens to me when I am reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

–          Although earlier in my first point I did say to make it as shocking or daring as you like, it still has to be believable to the reader or they will feel cheated.

–          A good trick is to use words, places or names which have double meanings. For example by referring to someone as Alex it could be either a boy or a girl and you can have the reader thinking one thing but then reveal it is in fact the other.

–          Try to avoid clichés such as ‘and then I woke up and realised it was all just a dream’, because this disappoints the reader.

–          Starting at the end of the story then working back is an easier way of writing it. So working out what your twist is going to be and then writing your plot adding your clues.

Hope these tips have helped you! My next part (part ten) is going to be the final part of my short story tutorials, it will be on how to write GHOST AND MYSTERY STORIES so keep your eyes peeled! Any questions/comments feel free to post below and I will respond back to you! 🙂

How To Write Short Stories – Part Eight – Beginnings and Endings

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

Part Five – Point of View in Short Stories

Part Six – Dialogue in Short Stories

Part Seven – First or Third Person

Beginnings

It can be really tricky to start a story because you have to grab the reader straight from the first line. The beginning determines whether they read on or skip your story for another one, these tips are designed to help you in writing your beginning to your short story.

–          Having a great first line is key because it automatically grabs the reader’s attention and draws them in.

–          Starting with a rhetorical question is a good way to start because the reader answers this in their own head then continues to read on to see if they were correct.

–          Starting with two characters in dialogue draws the reader in right from the start, we want to be interested in the characters and plot – who are they, what are they talking about, what will they do next?

–          Start with a situation that people can identify with that is fairly common such as misplacing something, a break up etc.

Endings

The ending needs to be unforgettable, after all it is the last thing the reader reads of your story! It will determine whether they come back to read more of your work. The ending closes up your story and by following these tips you will have the reader wanting more even though the story is over!

–          Make sure something happens! There is nothing worse than reading a story and when it comes to the ending nothing actually happens, the whole story has been building up to this one moment and it leaves you closing the book/magazine with a sigh. Whether you add action or make a character have a realisation just make sure it is not boring otherwise the reader will be very disappointed.

–          Do not make it too obvious, ‘and they got back together, and lived happily ever after, the end’. Predictable endings are so boring – you want the reader to read your ending and think ‘wow I had no idea that was coming’. A surprise or shock factor is definitely a winner!

–          Your ending needs a feel good factor. You want the reader to feel satisfied and not cheated out of a great ending. Leave the reader glowing with all kinds of emotion so they will come back for more of your stories.

–          If when you are writing your story you are not sure of how it will end, do not worry it will come to you eventually. Just put your story away for a few days and go back to it with fresh eyes.

Hope this has helped you guys on how to write your beginnings and endings of your short stories. If you have any questions or queries do not hesitate to comment below where I will answer them for you! Part Nine will be about how to write a TWIST IN THE TALE short story (it will be posted very soon so as always keep an eye out!).

Sophie Chekruga 🙂

How To Write Short Stories – Part Seven – First or Third Person?

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

Part Five – Point of View in Short Stories

Part Six – Dialogue in Short Stories

It can always be tricky when you start to write a story to know whether to do it from a first person perspective or a third person perspective. Everybody has a preferred choice, personally I prefer to write in first person. These tips will help you to choose which one suits you best so you can write your story without any hesitation!

First Person (from your perspective)

–          I find it a lot easier to write in the first person because you can become the character that you are writing about, you can really relate to them and get in their shoes. It is much more personal and intimate when writing this way which helps to create a convincing character for the reader.

–          It allows you to give a twist in the story. For instance you could write in a particular way, dropping hints all the way through that suggests to the reader that the protagonist is a man when you reveal at the end dun dun dunnnnn that it is actually a woman. Twists like this make your story much more interesting.

Third Person (outsider looking in)

–          You can see and describe your characters in depth because you are an outsider looking in.

–          You can enlarge the plot.

–          You cover more characters.

–          The third person is far less limiting than the first person.

Hope this has helped you! Any questions feel free to post below and I will answer them for you. Part Eight will be on BEGINNINGS and ENDINGS so keep your eyes peeled folks!

How To Write Short Stories – Part Six – Dialogue in Short Stories

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

Part Five – Point of View in Short Stories

Dialogue in short stories is very important after all conversations make up a huge part of our day. There are a few rules when it comes to writing dialogue, if you follow my tips below it should hopefully make it a lot easier when it comes to writing your stories!

–          You need to identify exactly who is speaking.

–          To make your dialogue more realistic have the character doing something at the same time. Our lives are full of multitasking, whether you are on the phone to your best friend whilst unloading the dishwasher or talking to your mother whilst making her a drink of tea and this should also happen in your dialogue. It is really simple to put in as well, an example might be – “You really think this date will be different?” Susan asked as she brushed her hair.

–          Always put a comma/full stop at the end of the sentence but before the speech marks, for example, “.”

–          It does not necessarily have to be spoken, it could feature in an email, a text etc. by using various ways it makes the story more interesting.

–          Use dialogue to reflect the type of character you have created. For example if you have created an excitable character then their dialogue will be enthusiastic using a lot of exclamation marks. The reader will then be familiar with the character so will be able to know it is them who is speaking later on in the story.

–          Give your characters their own phrases and mannerisms through their dialogue as it brings them to life more. For example does one character always repeat a certain word or phrase such as ‘like’ or ‘you know’, does one swear etc.

–          Use alternative words to ‘said’ so it does not get too repetitive.

Hope this has helped you, Part Seven will be on FIRST and THIRD PERSON so keep a look out for that!

Sophie Chekruga 🙂

How To Write Short Stories – Part Five – Point of View in Short Stories

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

This post will be quite short as there are only a few rules I follow regarding viewpoint when I write my short stories. These rules are as follows…

–          Try not to switch between viewpoints without warning in short stories because it will confuse the reader.

–          If you are going to switch between viewpoints make sure it is in a clear way, for example starting a new chapter with a different character’s viewpoint with their name as the title of the chapter or leave a reasonable amount of white space between the two character’s viewpoints.

–          Different viewpoints are a good thing because they broaden your plot. It allows the reader’s to get inside different character’s minds which they would not have been able to do if you only stick to one viewpoint.

–          In reality we do not know for sure what other people are thinking we can only guess and this has to reflect in your work. For example do not say ‘Sarah thought that play was boring’ ( if she has not actually said it herself) instead say ‘Sarah yawned a lot looking bored and disinterested’.

Hope this has helped! Part six will be on DIALOGUE so stay tuned! 🙂

How To Write Short Stories – Part Four – Plotting Your Short Story

If you have missed my previous parts the content is as follows –

Part One – General outline of what a short story entails

Part Two – How to get inspiration for your short story

Part Three – Characters

This part is on how to plot your short story.

The trick is to grab the reader from the beginning, starting with an initial idea then to develop it further adding a twist as you go along. Here are a few methods of how to plot your short stories in a more structured way. Remember different ways work for different people so it is better to find out which one suits you best.

–          Represent different characters on different coloured paper. At the top of the page write the character’s name and write underneath what they are like, their involvement in the story then what will happen to them as the plot unfolds. This way is good as it helps keep the characters separate so you do not get them confused with each other!

–          Use a whiteboard. This is so useful because you can add things or erase things as and when you please. You can make bullet points about what will happen or even do mind maps (where you put one key word in the middle and branch off that with other ideas).

–          Bullet points. Write down the events in an organised list. This way is really helpful as you have the skeleton of your story in front of you all you have to do is write around it!

Important Things to remember…

–          Get the right pace. In your story you want a mixture of calm, reflective moments and fast paced, action packed moments. Make sure you find the right balance because too much calm could be boring for the reader and too much action could bamboozle the reader.

–          Make sure ‘something’ interesting happens every 4-5 paragraphs for example a decision, a change of scenery, meeting a new character etc.

–          Always always always read your work! Reading it out loud to somebody helps you to pick up on mistakes you have not seen before.

Hope you enjoyed part four of my short story tutorials, part five will be on VIEWPOINT so make sure to look out for it in the next few days!

Sophie Chekruga 🙂