Updated date:

Writing short stories? Here is what to do with them

Rushali is the author of a short story collection called Unexpected Encounters on Smashwords.


This is written from my personal experience and not a list of hundred random unverified ideas. Let's begin.

Step 1: An Idea


An idea can be from a random poster you saw on the street. It could be from a cat that you pet. Or could it also be an episode of a drama you watched? My ideas are mostly shower thoughts that i turn into plots. What starts as one line end up as more than a 1000 words. But what is important is that you have an idea to work on.

Step 2: Creating a Story


It is pretty obvious. Once you have an idea in your mind, it is important to develop it to form an entire story. Some people believe in going with the flow. I personally stuck to this for a few years until I realized my mistake. Going with the flow eventually ends up as a flaw. Why? You end up writing a beautiful chapter of a story, but while nearing the climax you think an alternative climax would be better. Then, to suit that alternate climax, you start correcting the beginning. Finally, you could end up with two complete different stories instead of what your initial idea was. Hence, have an outline in mind. If your murdered is going to be caught, note down what evidence points to him, who will arrest him and how in the beginning.

Step 3: Writing the Story


Once you are done with the outline of your story, write down the story as a paragraph. Basically, jotting down lines that describe the direction of your story.

For example, "A child is born on a winter night; the mother passes away. The father is waiting outside but gets arrested for serial murder. The child grows up in an orphanage..."

This is basically the lamest outline you will write of your story. Write it down again, but in much greater detail. Why? This helps you acquaint yourself with words you want to use in your original story.

For example: "It was a snowy day in winter. The nurse hurried through the corridor with a consent form in hand. the father rubbed his hands together and walked up and down the entrance nervously..."

This second paragraph could serve as a first draft but grammatically, it allows room for improvement. When you write the third time, refer to the words in this but try to make them better.

For example: A white blanket of snow covered the ground, he hurried out of the car, helping his pregnant wife on her feet.The snow melted beneath his warm boots, leaving reflecting footprints in the snow..."

As you write further, you get more words and more scenes for your story. So go ahead write your story on MS Word with the "Book Manuscript" template.

Step 4: Proofreading and Formatting


There are a few levels of proofreading.

Level 1 (Novice): Letting Grammarly do the job. (easiest, laziest way to finish it up)

Level 2 (Intermediate): Reading through the document yourself (hardest way to proofread, with a chance of overlooking obvious typos)

Level 3 (Professional): Proofreading it yourself and then handing it over to a few trusted friends to not just proofread but also point out any improvements to the story)

Voila. This brings us to the end of the writing process.

Step 5: Publishing your Work


Once you are done writing and reading through, you're done with that document. Now, you might have the yearning to suddenly hit the top with the release of your recently written masterpiece but alas, only if it was that easy.

For short, stories takers are very scarce, although there are tons of magazines and publishers that look for it, it would take you a few months to even get rejected. Waiting for 2 months to be rejected is not something you want to do? Want the easy way out?


I wrote a few short stories and after scrutinizing everything, picked 5 which were worthy of being submitted. I started applying to short story contests but it takes 6 months to have them reviewed. This led me to choose Smashwords, of which I learnt of, through a comment on Hubpages.

Smashwords allows you to publish your work at the click of a button, lest your meet their formatting standards which is very well described on their website. Once you do that, there is an automatic review process and once thats approved your book is on Barnes and Noble, Apple, Amazon, Srcibd etc.

And that is the end of it. You share the story on Social Media and wait for it to rise in popularity. And since we are on the topic anyway here is a link to my short story collection published on Smashwords:


gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on June 05, 2021:

Just write!! Thank you for your valuable tips

Rushali Prasad (author) from Muscat,Oman on June 05, 2021:

It doesn't matter how we write, but rather what we write, right? Good luck and thank you!

Rushali Prasad (author) from Muscat,Oman on June 05, 2021:

Thank you. I hope you would publish an amazing book!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 04, 2021:

Nice tips and advice. I know I should write that way but I am too random. I do proofread and change and improve though, just have trouble with the planning process. Thanks for the Smashwords link. I will check it out.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on June 04, 2021:


I enjoyed your article/or Hub and I will check this out. Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best of luck on selling your book.

Take Care,

Bobbi Purvis

Liz Westwood from UK on June 04, 2021:

This is a useful step by step guide to short story writing.

Related Articles