Write Life Saturdays: Short Stories

Write Life Saturday is where I share what I’ve been working on lately. Some of you may know that I’m in high school. More specifically, I’m in year 11. Even MORE specifically, I do both advanced English and extension English, and we have a write a short story for both.

I mean, technically I could just write one short story and submit it twice (it’s allowed, I checked) but being a perfectionist and all, I didn’t like the first story I wrote. I set out to write another one and you know what?

Short stories are REALLY HARD.


No joke, I would rather write a 60-70,000 word novel than a short story. I have ideas that work for novels. What kind of ideas do you need for short stories? I HAVE NO IDEA.


Here’s what my two short stories are about:

The Goldfish Shower

(oh gosh, I’ve forgotten the main character in this story. What was it? Oh yeah! Lilly!)

Okay, so Lilly’s Mum asks her to feed the goldfish. She realises she doesn’t have a goldfish, only to step into the bathroom and come across a whole shower full of them. The story follows the weird happenings of her house, including talking goldfish, a talking lawnmower and a floating dining table.

And seriously, I started this story expecting it to be serious. It was not.

Strawberries and Sausages

If you’ve seen the page on my blog talking about my upcoming writing projects, this was one of the ideas. I’ve used it loosely for my short story, but I still want to use it for a novel! My main character (forgotten HER name as well…maybe I haven’t given her one yet) talks to Tessie, who is like an Aussie version of the Loch Ness Monster. They’re both lonely, and they both have no family left, because MC’s father was given the death penalty.

I think the trick with short stories is not to have too much going on. There’s only so much you can develop (in terms of character, plot, world-building etc.) in a short space. Creating a huge epic is not viable, and often a single moment in time is enough for a whole short story.

Another thing that helps is keeping a document with ideas. I have a Scrivener file full of photos and Tumblr posts and little snippets of writing, just waiting to inspire me. It’s often the really odd things that inspire me (but then I’m a bit of an oddball). Writing a short story really has taught me the value of every word, sticking to a limit, and developing character quickly.

Do you write short stories? If you find them easy I NEED YOUR TIPS!


Yours loonily,



7 thoughts on “Write Life Saturdays: Short Stories

  1. I’ve gotten alright at writing short stories, as in my creative writing course they’re mainly all we do. You got some great tips in this post, keeping a short story not overly complicated is key. My short stories tend to be quite open ended, I love building everything up and leave people wanting more. This also allows me to change my short stories into novels later on (: I’ve also noticed that certain genres are more easily adapted into short stories, such as horror. Other genres are more difficult to write in a short story, like contemporary. This is because you don’t really get as much room to fully flesh out and develop characters/romances/etc.

    Haha great post! I was originally confused as it’s still Friday here, then I remembered you lived in Australia lol.

    • We don’t have a creative writing class, unfortunately 😦 I like the idea of leaving things open-ended. That seems easier than actually ending it properly. And yeah, it WOULD help with making them into novels (that happens to me as well). My contemporary short story turned into magical realism…oops. I guess contemporary really needs a long time to figure itself out, since it needs character development and all that jazz.

      Good old Australia’s in front of everyone, lol 😛

  2. I find writing short stories really hard, too – but, weirdly, I really enjoy writing flash fiction. These are (in case you don’t know, because some people don’t) *ultra* short short stories, sometimes no more than 150-200 words. Sometimes I think the more limitations I have, the more inspired I can be.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in your post by saying ‘don’t have too much going on in a short story’; I try to write my short pieces based around an epiphany in a character’s life, a pivotal moment, or the crescendo of a situation that’s been building up for ages, or the moment of a realisation. Keep your cast of characters small and don’t waste time on unnecessary description. Use a random word generator to give yourself five words, all of which have to be used in your story somehow – think of them like pegs to hang your tale upon. Using Pinterest for images is a great idea – images can be really inspirational, too. However, I think the best way to get good at writing short stories is to read them; I personally love the stories of Flannery O’Connor and Shirley Jackson, but they can tend to be a little weird. i’d recommend them, though, if you’ve never read them before. And, of course, practice makes perfect.

    Anyway. I’m sure your stories are awesome. Keep writing!

    • There are some great ideas there – love the one about using five words to put in a story! *takes notes furiously* Basing the story around a pivotal moment was something I was SORT OF doing sub-consciously, but now I know what I’m actually doing that might be easier 🙂

      I will take yours and Larissa’s advice and read some more short stories. Silly for me to not think of that. After all, I read so many YA novels as research!

  3. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Reading again, Monologues and Cycling | The Loony Teen Writer

  4. Short stories are my mortal enemy. Really, they are. On my last English exam, I had to write a short story on belonging (*shudder*) using the stimulus provided, and I swear I stared blankly at the page for half of the time allowed.

    I think practice, practice, practice, is what’ll eventually improve your short story writing–but if you’re anything like me, it’s hard to find the motivation to write a short story when I’d rather just work on one of my WIPs.

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