Stories are the favorite places for readers as they can get lost in the world of imagination and travel across time. Short stories, on the other hand, can spark a lot of interesting endings and debates about the characters, as readers are free to make their conclusions.
A lot of these happen thanks to the writers who create them. However, short story writers can sometimes make crucial mistakes, ultimately killing the essence they were trying to capture.
If you’re a writer trying to venture into writing short stories, then here are the mistakes that every short story writer should avoid.
1. Giving Too Much Plot
A short story is very different from writing a novel. Having too many plots will bring adverse results when writing short stories. They should instead have plots relevant to the story, capable of strongly grabbing the readers’ attention.
You need to identify what the concentration of your story should be. This will make it easier for you to focus the plot around that and keep it to the point. Remember, short story writing is all about keeping it short, sweet, and precise!
2. Too Many Dialogues
Short stories shouldn’t have too many dialogues. Instead, it should be more focused on building the story and giving the readers a clear idea of what’s happening.
Imagine reading a short story and trying to understand what’s happening in it, then getting bombarded with a long series of dialogues. With every dialogue, you have to cut the paragraph, also breaking your readers’ concentration.
Focus more on precisely explaining what’s happening in the story. It’s much better to captivate their attention in narration than in dialogue and always balance between the two.
3. Writing Lengthy Introduction
A lengthy introduction is good if you’re writing a novel. However, it just takes up a lot of space when you’re doing so in a short story. This is one of those crucial mistakes many writers make in short stories, ultimately losing the readers’ interest.
Keep the introduction short and precise. The readers will get a specific idea of what they’ll be reading in the following paragraphs in a very short time.
4.The Development is Too Slow
Writers who are more experienced in writing long forms tend to over-explain everything. This, in terms of short stories, retards the story’s development, essentially missing out on evolving the plots effectively.
Short stories don’t have too much space to fill with fillers. You also have a few pages to come to the conclusion paragraphs. This means that the development shouldn’t be lengthy. Rather, it should stay to the point.
5. Not Developing Central Characters
Central characters are central for a reason. The story builds around them and focuses on them throughout, and writers aim to get readers hooked on these characters more. Besides, you have the scope to develop a very rare character. You may even copyright your work if you don’t want anyone else to adopt anything of that character.
What a lot of short story writers miss while developing the story is not developing the main characters properly or not at all. Without adequately knowing what the character is like and its role in this story, readers will be confused, ultimately losing interest.
6. Giving It All to the Side Characters
Another crucial mistake many writers make is focusing on the side characters, making them the story’s center instead. This can lead to a lot of confusion. Readers will face chaos trying to figure out who the main characters essentially are, ultimately being disenchanted.
Side characters should only have space in short stories enough to support developing the main characters. This is why, in the movies, they call these characters supporting roles.
7. A Conclusion That Just Concludes
Short stories should have open-ended conclusions. What does that mean? It doesn’t have any specific wrap-up. Readers are open to interpretation of the story based on different perspectives.
This creates a sense of mystery, hooking the readers to know more stories you’re writing. But if you give a straight, closed conclusion, readers will move on from what they read instead of engaging in the story subconsciously or discussing it with others.
8. The Title is Boring
You’ve probably already heard the saying, “never judge a book by its cover.” Although it indicates the design and color of the book, the title is one of the main components readers look at before deciding on buying it.
As a writer, your first shot at engaging the reader is the title of your story. If the title sounds boring initially, people will move on to whatever’s next.
Imagine you’ve written a great story, but readers don’t even go through it because they found the title dull. Won’t that be a great loss? Therefore, make your story title short and captivating, and point it towards your story’s topic.
9. Not Diversifying the Narratives
Let’s say people found your earlier stories and want to see something fresh. They’ll be looking for something of a different narrative. But if your stories are essentially the same, whether in books or in your blogs, they’ll soon lose interest.
Your readers will ultimately avoid reading your stories altogether, as they’ll become boring and repetitive. But if you keep your narrative new and different every time, readers will find the stories interesting.
Here, you also have the scope of writing something that none has ever written before. And if you publish them in books, your readers will also have the chance to store them in their collection of rare books.
Any writer should have a broader perspective and be willing to branch out into various ideas. Your stories should have narratives different from the others to keep the readers fully invested in your writings.
Writing short stories is an art. While some may debate that it comes naturally and you have to have a talent for it, you can actually achieve your desired results through practice consistently. You have to avoid the mistakes listed in this article if you want to captivate your readers deeply.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how you should avoid the common mistakes short story writers make and create a marvel of your own.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.