Writing a Short Story

Are your children having a hard time writing a short story? We can make it easier for our children by discussing the elements of a story and giving some prompts.

A Short Story Has -


The characters can be people, animal, insects, or anything that can be believable. Usually there is one center character. When writing a short story we need to describe the characters in a way so that they seem real.

A Plot

Something has to happen in the story. It needs a plot. The plot builds with a sequence of events. There is a climax. Then the action falls and the story ends.


Most stories have a problem that needs to be solved. There are two types of conflict.

In one the character deals with issues outside of him.

The other type of conflict deals with internal problems such as overcoming anger.

The character can struggle with other men, ideas, God, or himself.


In some stories the setting is very important, while other it is not important. When your child is writing have him describe the time and place of his story.

Point of View

Each story has a point of view. We can tell the story from the eyes of the main character or the story is told in the third person


Each author has a style. Some use metaphors and figurative language others write in a standard form.


Each story has a central idea. The theme is usually mentioned in the title of the story.

Short Story Terms

There are quite a few different terms for creative writing. It is possible to be able to write stories without knowing the different terms. The terms are useful for high school and college students who are analyzing stories.

Story Prompts

Provide your child with a theme to write the story about. Themes can be;

  •  what you did do in the summer
  • if you were president
  • if it snowed in July
  • if animals could talk

You can also provide story details. You can find a list of characters, traits, and settings on my homeschool writing prompts page.


Reading short stories and analyzing them can help with our writing. Pick a short story to read together. It should be short enough that you can read it in one setting. Have your child write down the characters. How did the author describe the character?

Think about where the story took place. How was it described?

What happened in the story? What did the characters do?

You might want to read several short stories before you have your child write.

We can help to make writing a short story easier for our children by reading stories and giving story prompts. Discussing the necessary elements of good stories can also help our children write.

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