Let's build ourselves a Short Story community!



If you’re trying to write for kids/first-timers, here’s my advice:

  1. Pick something simple for them to latch onto. If you end up using a background that’s popular at the minute, then people have less to try and pick up on. For example, most people know what a phaser is in Star Trek or what a Wookie looks like. Trying to explain to them about Zhodani/Imperial politics in the 35th century is a no-no.

  2. Make the object of the adventure obvious from the get go. This doesn’t mean that the adventure can’t be complicated. It just means that the players have something to do from the start.

  3. Speaking of which, make sure that in the adventure there are no death traps, no dead ends that can’t be avoided. The players must always have options to do something.

  4. Use pre-gen characters. But let people customise them if they want. That way they will come to feel they ‘own’ the character. The number of people who ask if they can keep character sheets after my convention games is a good measure of how much people like the game.

  5. Make sure every character can bring something to the table in the adventure. You want the players involved. And if the players come up with something good, give them the win!

  6. If you have kids, don’t make the game too ‘heavy’. Keep it light-hearted. For example, trying to find treasure in a cave system is fine. Going out to slaughter orcs ‘because orcs is bad, mmkay’ is not.

  7. Make the adventure quirky. They’ll remember it.


I once set myself the challenge to write 30 short stories in 30 days. I did it, and learnt a lot about how to use anything as inspiration. The problem now is that I can’t write stories if the prompts are too prescriptive.


yeah man i know that feel, nobody really cares about short stories, flash fiction or the like these days, never really sure why, given the abundance of novels by comparison


i see short stories as an art form in and of itself, it’s hard to condense a meaningful story into so few words, and that was a challenge that could realistically be accomplished in a smaller space of time, which makes short stories all the more appealing to me


I’d say NaNoWriMo if that counts.


Yeah, I know that feeling from writing 50-word stories. I find I don’t mind word limits for short reasons, because like you said, it’s good for teaching you to be succinct, but I find word count challenges that are x words per day achievable for me, personally.


Great! Good luck.


Self given challenges are important, especially when you’re writing only short stories, I think. With a novel your aim is to finish the story, but with short stories, it’s only ever short term goals. I like making myself a challenge so that I still have that long-term approach.


Those seem like great tips, thanks! Star wars might actually be a great way to go for my family.


Sounds valuable!

I’d really like to do a short a day challenge, I just need to find the time to do a short each day. Maybe over the summer.


People definitely care, just not on Wattpad and I’m still not sure why that is, given how popular short chapters are and how much people want to be able to read things in one sitting.


it’s an enigma, really, there’s not many short stories out there on wattpad and despite the large demand for shorter chapters in wattpad novels, it makes perfect sense that the same large demand for short stories in general would exist, but it doesn’t, for some reason… weird

perhaps its because the abundance of stories on wattpad in general is hampering the demand for short stories, but given that the demand for such short fiction, and short stories are being undermined by larger stories with the same, smaller chapters because people like more digestible, but larger fiction? idk


It only takes about an hour a day. And it gets faster as you go along.


I promise if I find out the secret, I’ll let people know!


I read an article in the mainstream press about recent changes to publishing. The idea was that chapters of 500 to 1,000 words were taking over fiction because a lot of people were reading off their phones. You’ve likely heard that before. In this article, there was mention of “potato chip” chapters, ones written in such a way that the reader wants to read a short chapter, and then feels really compelled to read the next short chapter, and then keeps going, kind of like suddenly downing a whole bag of potato chips.

If this true, is a short story like offering one potato chip? I’m wondering if it does play a role.


yes, that seems logical. it’s why i suggested to someone else (i think?) that short stories should be posted as anthologies rather than individual publications.


Getting a NaNoWriMo win. Hitting that 1,667 words a day mark wasn’t easy! Final word count: 65,501.


That, and you don’t have to do a cover for each story.


It’s what I’ve started doing.


Interesting analogy, but I would have thought it’d more be a short story as it’s own teeny snack, since they’re generally stand -alone. It’s possible the quantity is the issue, though. If someone wants a big bag of chips they’re not going to be satisfied with less. An interesting take on it, anyway. Thanks for your input!