Teaching your kids how to put their imagination and thoughts into words and turning them into their first short story is a wonderful activity for parents, grandparents and rellies alike! If you’re not sure where to start or how to write a story, we’ll help you break down the essentials so your budding author can create their masterpiece!
Let’s start with the basics…
What Is A Short Story?
A short story is a brief narrative that generally falls between 100 and 10,000 words. However a short story could also be in the form of a comic, poem or even a screenplay! In most cases, a short story only has a few key characters and is less elaborate than a novel. But this doesn’t mean it has to be boring! A great short story draws the reader into an exciting world, even with limited words.
Have you heard that the Spencil Writers Prize competition is back for 2022? If you’ve got a budding Andy Griffiths, Roald Dahl or Agatha Christie kiddo, give them something fun to do these school holidays and enter the Spencil Writers Prize! Write a short story, poem or comic (500 word limit) and they can illustrate it too! The more individuality and flair they want to add to their piece the better, so let their imagination run wild! Check out all the details here.
How Long Should Your Short Story Be?
There are no exact lengths a short story must be. The word count varies, especially in writing competitions where there is a specific word count required. Some stories can even be concluded in one sentence! Your goal should be to write the right length for your story.
Story Writing Tips for Budding Writers:
What To Include In Your Short Story?
Ready to get started? Here are the essential elements of a great short story. Jot down some ideas and you’ll have a rough outline of your story in no time!
- What is the plot of your story?
- Who are your main characters?
- What is the theme of your story?
- What are the obstacles your characters face?
- What is the turning point?
Need some inspiration to get the creative juices flowing? Here are some ideas:
Plot: George is about to attend the city’s Pooch Parade for the first time. He is so excited when the big day finally arrives, but everything doesn’t go to plan…
Characters: George is an outgoing French Bulldog who can always be found with two things: his signature plaid red jacket and his brother, Stephen the sausage dog! These two best friends get into plenty of mischief together but family is always the most important thing.
Theme: The central theme in our example is the importance of family and how George and Stephen band together to help their owner when things don’t go to plan.
Obstacle: George is excited to attend the Pooch Parade, but his owner becomes sick and is very sad he will not be able to take George to the parade.
Turning Point: Saddened by this, George and Stephen gather their friends and family and surprise their owner with their own parade at home!
You can learn more about what to include in your short story here.
How To Write A Story?
Now that you have all your ideas together, the next step is how to write a short story. Where to start!? It may seem a bit tricky at first but the best thing to do is just keep writing. You can always come back and fine tune your story later. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you and the little ones started.
Step 1: Hook them in
Using your plot, think about where you want your story to begin. You can draw on your own personal experiences, movies you’ve seen or create a wonderful new world of your own. The key here is to have an exciting opening line or two that really entices the reader to go on!
Step 2: Introduce your characters
Next up, you can introduce your main characters to the story. Who are they and what is their role in your story? Use descriptive words to create well-rounded characters and make sure to give them plenty of personality!
Step 3: Throw in a twist
The obstacles and challenges which your characters face make the story even more exciting! They give your hero a purpose and a problem to overcome. Throw a twist into your short story and see how your main characters navigate the situation. You may like to draft a few different storylines to see which idea fits best!
Step 5: Present the turning point
The turning point is often the most exciting part. It can be a time when the main character discovers a hidden superpower, the moment when the hero saves the other characters or in our example, when George surprises his owner with their very own parade!
Step 6: Wrap things up
After the turning point, we learn what happens to your characters now that the obstacle has been overcome and it’s time to wrap up your short story. The ending can be anything you want it to be and doesn’t necessarily have to be a happy ending. Get creative and think about which ending will be most interesting to you readers. After all, they’ve come this far so you want to leave them with a lasting impression!
Think visually. Describe each scene in vivid detail. Sometimes even acting out the scene will help you see how the words will actually look from the reader’s point of view. Not to mention it’s a hilarious rollplay to do with the fam!
Be passionate. Writing about topics you are passionate about will help you get the creative juices flowing! When you are really interested in a topic, it shows in your writing and you’ll find that the words come much more naturally.
Just write. Don’t be too conscious about spelling and grammar when writing your short story. Let it flow. You can always work on any spelling and grammar mistakes later.
That’s it! With these tips you’ll be well on your way to writing a great short story! When you’ve finished the piece de résistance, why not submit your story to the Spencil Writers Prize? You could win some epic prizes AND have your story turned into a printed hard-copy book to keep as a timeless treasure! Enter now!