Short story ideas?

Chatterbox: Inkwell

Short story ideas?

Short story ideas?

As part of my english course, I have to write a short story. My english course gave me no ideas as to how to write this short story or what I should start with--it's more of just focused on making sure my story is grammatically correct. Yay! 

I have no idea where to start on this or how to even write a short story, or even what the length of a usual short story should be. Does anyone have experience with this?  

submitted by Icy, age 15, The Forest
(February 10, 2020 - 12:00 pm)

I don't have any experience with something like this, so I don't know how to help... maybe this?

When Where What How Why?

Yeah, that doesn't help xD 

Hopefully someone comments on this thread with actual answers! I'm curious on how to write a short story as well!

For now, here's some probably bad advice I'm giving myself: JUST WRITE. JUST DO IT. JUST GO WITH TEH FLOW. Wait, but I have to make the flow,ri- JUST GO WITH THE FLOW >:O!!!!!!!! 


submitted by Aqua, age HMMM, hMmMmMmMmMmmMmM
(February 10, 2020 - 1:15 pm)

One exercise that really helps me is to write down 12 first sentences—just whatever comes into your head, all different! Then pick 6 and write first paragraphs off of the sentences you just wrote. Then pick 3 and write a second paragraph off of the first. It helps to get some ideas down on paper. You don't have to pick any of them as your final story idea, it's just a good starting exercise.--admin

submitted by admin
(February 10, 2020 - 4:29 pm)

Hello!  I'm Lu— Nevermind.  Here's my advise~!

Yay!  I love short stories!  Anyways. I agree with Admin, it's a really good tactic! For a short story, I usually go with five to ten pages.  I've had a horrible experience.  (I got a decently bad grade for my story.)  Don't worry though!  Mine was just really bad written.

You should always keep track of the whole story, make sure to keep the idea going.  Add enough details so that other can visualize it, make the plot concrete, make the characters have actual effect onto the story.  I create characters by roughly drawing them out, and making a charrie sheet for them.  You know, like the ones on here.  Make sure that the charrie sheet actually matches with the story.  

Goodness me, whatever I'm saying is flying everywhere.

Try not to add too many details so that the people reading it won't get bored.  With my short stories, I usually write twenty pages worth of it, but I write short stories often. 

I hope this helps a little.  Right now I'm a little sick and it's hard to concentrate.  Good luck with your short story! 

submitted by Luminara
(February 10, 2020 - 4:46 pm)

Ok, my weakness is coming up with a good opening. Try writing down a few ideas, and then come up with an opening for each of them. Pick the one you like best and write a story. A few ideas are:

-Murder mystery

-A future fantasy world

-A story from an animal's perspective

-A story about a scientific genius


I would ask your teacher about how long he/she wants it to be, because "short" can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. 

submitted by Majestic Mary, age 1 eternity, Somewhere Special
(February 10, 2020 - 4:54 pm)

Hey! I absolutely love short stories - they're my favorite medium to write in. So here's some tips on how they work and how to get started!

In terms of where to start - my favorite thing to do is pick a writing prompt, or use art to motivate my writing. I go on Pinterest and look at art I've saved in the past, for example. There are also plenty of writing prompt generators and accounts online - google "writing prompts" and you'll find more than enough, I'm sure! If you don't want to do that, another thing I do is, since I'm a very character-driven writer, is write scenes based around my characters. They can be stand-alone, but generally fit into the character's larger narrative as well. If you have any characters that are important to you, that you know well, or that are part of a current or past WIP, you can try writing a one-shot based on one of them - an important scene from their past, an emotionally charged moment, anything you want!

The length of the short story depends on what your teacher is expecting, so you should probably check with them before writing something too long or too short. A page range of about 2-4 pages is probably a safe bet. A form of short story called a flash fiction piece (my faaaavorite) is especially short - the maximum word count for it is about 1000 words, which is about a page and a half single-spaced. However, I've written flash fiction pieces that are only about 300 words long! A general short story is about 500-3000 words long. However, if you read collections of short stories, especially ones by famous science fiction authors like Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov, you'll see work generally considered to be a "short story" that stretches on for much longer than that. I doubt your teacher wants to read that much, though.

(I got all my lengths and ranges, except the 2-4 page range, from the qualifications for the Scholastic Writing Awards - I'm not sure how universal they're considered.) 

As for a short story itself . . . the simplest way to think about it, if you're not used to writing in a short story format, is as a mini-novel. A short story should still have an identifiable plot and an arc that comes to some sort of conclusion at the end. However, you probably won't have the time or words to fit in any sub-plots or anything similar. You'll typically have a small cast of characters, one subject you're focusing on, and, though this may just be personal preference, I find it easier to write about internal conflicts than external ones. You don't have to have a satisfying ending to your short story; like in any piece of writing, you can end on a cliffhanger, leave some things undiscovered, leave your readers frustrated or confused. But the plot should progress in some way, and you need to keep your reader interested somehow!

I hope this helped! Good luck with your assignment. 

submitted by columbus
(February 10, 2020 - 5:08 pm)

Hi Icy!!! *hugs* Good to see you, even if it is just for a little bit! 

I love to write short stories-lately I've been writing them for CBers lately to do a short picturing of them. 

For my short stories, it always helps if I start with a picture in my mind of what I want to write about, and I focus on the details of that picture. Unlike a novel, I think it is really the details of a short story that make the short story come alive. The feelings,  the color... The main thing is to keep your reader on the edge of their seat. The story really doesn't have to be long, just until you as the author feel like the story is finished. 

Using picture prompts from online really helps too. That's what I usually use, and you could also use an ordinary object like, a whiteboard eraser and write from its perspective, like how it feels to be that eraser, what their day to day life is, etc. (I know it sounds silly, but it works.) TRULY put yourself into the characters shoes, no matter what you are writing about. 

You could also use a personal experience and write about that, and how you overcame it.  

If you want some examples, feel free to look at the story picturings I have done for some CBers, (the post is on Chirp at Cricket) and I can also message you a link to my blog on Nano, where I've been posting most of my short stories too. 

Tell me if you want more help with this. :) 


submitted by Joan B. of Arc, age 17 1/2, Camelot
(February 10, 2020 - 5:31 pm)

What I do is I watch my fave movies, read my fave books, or I just listen to my fave music. My fave book and movie is "Alice in Wonderland", and that's how I started writing my first book when I was little. I also read the facinating parts of my fave books that I don't read too much. Like "Goosebumps" and I watch my fave movie from the library "Incredibles 2" and I watch a movie called "A Champion Heart" and it's about a girl named Mandy, who gets in trouble after she moves to Spring Valley (I think that's the name of the town) and she has to help take care of horses at a horse rescue called Winds of Grace and Bradley helps her and she gets her horse named Tux (Bacause he looks like hes wearing a tuxcedo) and Bradley tells her that when he broke windows because he was mad at his dad that it felt good, but his dad told him that it wasn't his dads fault that made Bradley break those windows and...sorry I'm getting a little off topic. Anyway, I take those ideas, and then I write it down on my note pad and wherever I need inspiration, I take a look at my notes.

submitted by Emekittycon k, age 11, Kitten Kingdom
(February 10, 2020 - 5:46 pm)

I forgot to mention that Mandy got Tux hurt by jumping over a 3 foot thing when they weren't ready

submitted by Emekittycon k, age 11, Kitten Kingdom
(February 10, 2020 - 6:28 pm)

Icy! It's been forever since I've seen you here. But, then again, I only just came back in January. It's me, Wiseowl/unsuspecting/Spring Flower.

I had this problem for a while too, but I think my best adivce is to look at children's books. They usually follow the simple plot tringle of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. That, and also look at your real life or any funny/sweet/sad annecdotes you've heard with family or friends. 

submitted by possibly wiser, definitely older
(February 10, 2020 - 10:29 pm)

Thank y'all for the tips and inspiration! (also hey Joan and Wiser, I see you there >->)

I decided to go with something futuristic but a little ambiguous; I'm a sucker for things like that and similar (Breath of the Wild's ancient technology in specific). I used a writing prompt website, unfortunately, but my parents don't exactly get the concepts of 'revising' or 'proofreading', so I don't have a lot of time to put into my work or concepts. Prompt was: 'Time travel is widely available. However, you can't interact with the past, you can only observe it. On a trip to the past one day, you bump into someone.'

A few quick @s because I'm teeechnically supposed to be doing Duolingo at the moment--@Majestic Mary, I'm awful at beginning stories! Gail Carson Levine is kinda my muse when it comes to beginnings; don't go too flowery or descriptive, just hook the reader. 'The Bear Charged' is a better beginning than something about the sweet aroma of the area or the stars in the night skies panning down to introduce the character. 

@Emekitty and colombus-- y'all are literally so passionate about what you do and it's great.

Thanks again to everyone for the help! x3 I probably won't be posting the story on the CB, but we'll see how it goes once I edit it a bit. 

submitted by Icy, age 15, The Forest
(February 11, 2020 - 2:05 pm)