How to Write a Short Story – Tips from JPC Allen

I kind of look forward to Mondays. Nothing like diving into another week full of possibility, right?

One aspect of Mondays that I enjoy is JPC Allen‘s imagination sparking blog posts. Bright and early Mondays she posts a picture with the fun challenge to create a character, scene, or story to go along with it. I love it. Recently she inspired me to try to write a short story based on a paragraph that I wrote in response to one of her pictures. I thought, “Yes! What a great idea! I would love to write a short story.” And just when I was ready to open a new document, I realized, “Wait. I don’t know how.”

Okay, I know this sounds weird. So far I’ve written three books, each at 48-50,000 words (which is short-novel length), so why am I daunted by writing a fraction of my typical length? Writing 10,000 words should be a piece of cake. Ha. JPC Allen has way more writing experience than I do, and she toils over perfecting her short stories, so obviously writing short stories can’t be a piece of cake.

I emailed her (with a teensy bit of embarrassment) to ask her how to write a short story. Where do I start? How do I squeeze an interesting plot with good character arc into 10,000 words? Does writing a short story require a different process altogether? At this point in my authoring, it seems like maybe I should’ve started with short stories – or at least dabbled in them enough to know how to compose one…

In her kind and helpful way, JPC Allen directed me to a previously written post that answered many of my questions.

This post inspires me to think that someday, hopefully not too far down the road, I can take on a short story project and write it well. My current WIP is a standalone novel, but I’m thinking that when it’s with my beta readers (which will be at least several months ahead) I’d like to write a short story from that imagination sparking post on JPC’s blog.

Imagination lovers, start your weeks with these fun challenges by subscribing to JPC Allen’s blog. Authors, do you write short stories or novels? Readers, which do you prefer to read? Comment below 🙂

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