Short stories are written in the format of a narrative. They are fictional narratives based on the beginning or outline/hints/clues (verbal or visual) given in the question. The purpose of asking you to write a short story is to improve your creative and imaginative thinking. A story usually narrates an incident with its associated happenings or may expand on one thought or idea.
Main Elements of a Short Story
Theme: This is the main idea. It may be a message, moral, an abstract idea, a lesson learnt etc.
Plot: It is the logical sequence of events which leads to the conclusion. The type of plot may be adventurous, scary, a mystery, suspenseful, comic etc.
Setting: It is the background or location where the action takes place. It may be realistic or fictional.
Characters: The story usually has people, animals or other living creatures, but they must be based on real life to give the story credibility. Usually there is one main character in the story with other minor characters to support the plot.
Mood/Atmosphere: It may be cheerful/ happy, tense, scary, suspenseful or neutral, depending on the question.
Steps to Write a Short Story
- Start the story in an interesting manner which attracts the readers.
- Develop the characters in the story through meaningful dialogues.
- Use the setting and context to develop the mood and atmosphere.
- Develop the plot by creating tension or a conflict through opposition between characters or between the main character and external forces.
- Build up a climax and find a resolution to the conflict, thus ending the story appropriately.
Points to be Kept in Mind
- Focus should be on a single incident.
- Always use past tense while writing a story.
- Frame the story keeping in mind the central characters.
- Consequences/Climax of the story should be clear and satisfying.
- Make simple and innovative use of language.
- Stick to the limit of 150-200 words.
- Make sure that the story has a moral/message if it requires one.
- A title may be given to the story if the question requires it; otherwise, it is optional.
Example Format of a Short Story
Q. Write a story in 150-200 words with the help of the following outline. Give it a suitable title also. [CBSE Delhi, 2020]
A cricket match …………. boys playing in the street …………. Ram hit the ball …………. a second-floor window pane broken ……….
[Title] The Last Match
[Story content beginning] Every year, as the summer vacation began, bats, balls and stumps were cleaned and installed on the street in front of our society. Scorching heat of the sun and our sweating bodies was an yearly scenario for the kids of the society. The best part about these afternoon cricket matches was the breaks that involved any one of the mothers getting exotic soft drinks for us to drink and rejuvenate our energies.
[Development of story] On one such afternoon, when an intense match was going on between our society and the one on the opposite side of the street; Ram, our best batsman, was in his complete enthusiasm. It was crucial for us to win this match as the challenge was tough and it was a matter of pride and honour to win against the opposite society. As Rakesh bowled, Ram swung his bat with full force and the ball went at lightning speed. Little did we know that this speed will make us run helter-skelter because the ball went through the glass window of the second floor of a building. The sound of the shattering glass silenced the cheers of us all and we ran before getting caught. Ram was standing at his position waiting for the house owners to come out in their balcony.
[Ending the story] A short old lady approached the balcony with the ball in her hand. She looked at us with furious red eyes. We were trembling looking at her face from behind the building wall. She then looked at Ram and summoned him upstairs. We don’t know what happened next but thereafter, our cricket matches never took place in the street.
Note: Write title only when asked otherwise avoid though giving a title to your story would do no harm to your marks from your story.