How NOT To Write A Short Story (in five easy steps)

Good afternoon, Cyberspace!

Today’s late Smudge is on the most articulate form of writing: short stories. And most importantly, how NOT to write them. Because we’ve all been in the shoes of the idiot who thinks, “Oh! This is a pretty good idea… I’ll just write a short story real quick.” And then–


15,000 words, five months, and a gallon of blood, tears, and wasted hours later, you’re staring at the screen with your twitching left eye thinking, “Wait…what?

But do not fear, for you are not alone! In fact, this happens to me the best of writers all the time. And since this is such a common occurrence for me again most, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to give you a Smudge on

How NOT To Write a Short Story (in five easy steps)

1. Give the short story chapters

This is probably a given, actually. I mean, who in the world would give a short story chapters, am I right?

Definitely not me, that’s for sure.

The only thing chapters do is make the short story much longer than it should be. So don’t do it unless you want your short story to magically expand into a novelette.

(It happens. Trust me.)

2. Forget an outline. You don’t need one. (cause you’re just that cool)

The absolute best thing to do is forget to create an outline. Who needs those, right? You’re a real author. I mean, the fact that your story rambles on and on and on and on doesn’t matter. And hey! That extra 30,000 words is just a tribute to how amazing this story really is.

3. Add in some side-quests (for extra flavor)

Don’t forget to take a trip down plotbunny lane while you’re at it! Is your hero supposed to be rescuing a princess? Why not let him meet a friendly troll whose family is in grave danger along the way? I mean, surely the princess won’t get eaten by the evil dragon in the 43 extra days it takes to write this story, right?

4. Explain Every. Single. Little. Detail.


Your hero has to make a three-day journey across a mountain range? Tell us alllllllll about it. He has to scale a cliff? How interesting… Do share.

Oh! And don’t forget to mention what he eats for each and every meal, the color of his shoes, the shape of the clouds, the rocky terrain, the tiredness in his muscles, the booger hanging out of his nose………..

5. End with a twist

You know what everyone loves? A good cliffhanger. And when it’s at the end of an already exceedingly vague and highly strung out novelette short story, they love it even more! So don’t end the story with our hero saving the princess (and obviously the troll family, duh.) from the evil, man-eating reptile. Instead, end with the princess’s eyes gleaming red as she walks down the aisle to her beloved prince–just as she’s about to morph into the dragon that the prince thought he’d slain.

Because closure. Who needs that, am I right?

Well, that’s about it! What’d you think? Was it good? Can you relate? Which do you prefer–short stories, or novels? Have you ever written a 15,000 word short story before? (Please say yes…)

Leave a comment below and tell me all your short story woes. (Or triumphs. But those are overrated, anyway, blech.)




8 thoughts on “How NOT To Write A Short Story (in five easy steps)

  1. Oh my gosh! Had me laughing so hard! I love it!!! Your blog is officially one of my absolute favorites! :D
    Funny story, I did actually try to write a short story once before, and, yes, it turned into a novella. I think that I can say I followed almost every one of your steps successfully. Lol! That was the day that I decided I was destined for novel writing, opposed to short story. I haven’t tried to write a short story since. :P

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh mah gosh!!! You sound just like me!! I try and write a short story and it’s turns into this huge monstrosity that eats me and everything else near it and then the whole world basically…

    But, OH MY, that twist with the princess’ eyes gleaming red is literally the best thing ever someone needs to write that!! (Also random side note but I reread the first post of yours I ever read, the interview with Adaline and OH DEAR, she killed someone at her own seventh birthday party???? That is so sad and so creepy and what kind of evil psychopathery are you writing about, my dear????)

    Liked by 1 person


      Ooh! I guess younger Kenzie knew how to Plot Twist…. So that means I just forgot??? Wow. My brain really is a marshmallow…

      Ummm… What are you talking about hahahahahahahaha– *shoves evil psychopathery under the carpet* No tormented souls here!!


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