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5 Secret Elements of Short Stories

One word which seems to be eternally clicking whenever we talk about childhood is-bedtime stories. Ever wondered that there might be a scientific logic behind relating our childhood to certain terms like bedtime stories, grandparents time, cartoons, video games and picnics? Because when we were living those moments, we remember them as incidents or stories and stories stay for longer in brains.

Our human mind is wired for stories. Storytelling has been the crux of civilisation. Have you ever wondered what makes a short story sound so good? Why would you recommend it to everyone? What makes you feel connected with both the author and the content?

The answers may vary, but the essence will not. Elements are crucial ingredients or important essence that make a short story gripping, relatable, structured, enticing and relavant. Here are the major 5 elements of short elements.

5 Major Elements Of A Short Story

  1. Mind-mapping

Mind-mapping is basically a diagram of thoughts that helps you to organize and write them down in general.

  • Eg: “New York is my favourite city.” Start with a topic. Write New York inside a circle on a piece of paper. Draw a line from that circle and attach another circle. Now write one thing you can do in New York. Keep asking yourself several questions like what did you like? Why do you want to visit that place again? What were the places and cafes you liked? Do this until the gaps are filled.

This leads to the discovery of new words and phrases. Mind-mapping can take a couple of days so take your time.

2. Outlining

  • An outline provides a high-level structure so you know where you’re going. It takes a story forward by using the best words in the best place.

  • Write down an idea and ask why do you want to write this? Why is your story interesting? What your story sounds like? Think logically and see if it fits your genre.

  • It includes theme, message, genre, target audience, word count, opening scene & closing scene as main parts.

3. Point of View

The point of view is from whose eyes the story is being told. Short stories are told from one character’s point of view.

  • Ist person point of view:

The narrator is a part of the story and is telling it the way he/she sees it. First-person narrators use the pronoun I.

  • 2nd person point of view:

The narrator addresses the reader directly and uses the pronoun you or yours.

  • 3rd person point of view

The narrator is not a part of the story and tells what the characters think and do. Third-person narrators use the pronouns like he, she, or it.

4. Character Voice

Characters are the people/actors that portray in the story. In a short story, each character creates a single impression through his DAT( dialogues, actions, and thoughts).

Types of characters-

  • Protagonist:

This is the lead character. The story revolves around a protagonist. A protagonist has good qualities in general.

  • Antagonist:

This portrays the opposition or the negative character.

  • Static:

These are the characters that do not change. They remain consistently good or bad throughout the story.

  • Dynamic:

These characters change from good to bad or bad to good. They add drama to a plot.

  • Round:

They are fully developed personalities with many qualities and emotions. These characters are hard to describe.

  • Flat

These characters possess few traits and are easy to describe.

5. Dialogue

  • Dialogue is important or else it is not a story and a description of events. No one can listen to an hour-long speech anymore.

  • Dialogues break monotony if used correctly. Write meaningful dialogues and make your reader understand the character.

  • Eg: “Hi, where are you?” followed up with “I am at home” “Can you please come and get me?” “I am at the grocery store”. A meaningful conversation always relies on the actions before each statement.

A good story isn’t just about how strong your vocabulary is or how well do you use the grammatical terms. If you feel stuck remember that short story writing requires artistic intuition. Go ahead and use these major elements to unleash the magic of your story writing.


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