Monday, June 12, 2017

Guest Post: STAGES OF WRITING A SHORT STORY by Jan Christensen


The steps below help me keep on track when writing a new story. Through trial and error, I've come up with these ideas to stay organized.

1. Get idea.  Get excited about your idea.  Start outlining, mental planning--whatever you do to get going.  I always just dive into the writing.

2. Start writing the story. Open a second document on your computer.  I name mine [NAME OF STORY] notes.DOCX.  Keep it open whenever you're working on this manuscript.  In it note each new character's name and description as you write about him or her, and any descriptions and names of specific places.  If you’re in flow and would rather wait until the end of your writing session to put this info down, that's fine, but it will take you longer to find it again to copy and paste.

After the list of names, do what I call a "post outline."  In a few sentences, write down what happened in each scene.  You will bless yourself later for this when you are revising, writing your query letter, and submitting

In the next section of your notes, copy and paste or type in research you did and other items as they come up. To keep good track of your research and to make it easier to go back to it, include the links to the material if you found it on-line.

3. Revise.

4. Submit. In your notes document, make a table to show where and when you submitted the story and the results of the submission. If you need to write a cover letter, first write it in the notes doc, edit it carefully, then copy and paste it into an email submission or into an on-line form if that’s the way submissions are handled by your target.

5. Instead of waiting to see if it’s accepted, get to work right away on a new story.

Good luck!

Jan Christensen ©2017

Jan Christensen lives and writes in Corpus Christi, Texas now, after living on the road in an RV and writing wherever she happened to land. She concentrates on mysteries, both short and long. More about her here:


Peter DiChellis said...

Thanks, Jan. I especially like the suggestions about a separate notes document.

Best wishes,

Jacqueline Seewald said...


All good advice!

Earl Staggs said...

You've provided an excellent protocol for writing a short story, Jan. you certainly know how it's done, and the stories you turn out prove you do it well.

Jan Christensen said...

Glad to help, Peter. Took me a while the refine it all, for sure.

Jan Christensen said...

Thanks, Jacqueline!

Jan Christensen said...

Earl, you are too kind. Hope you can use some of my tips, although you are doing great already!

Susan Oleksiw said...

Good advice, Jan, especially the idea of a Notes page.