4 Tips for Writing a Successful Short YA Story


Creating life within a short story is not as easy as many readers imagine. At PennedApp, we have put together some tips that we share with our writers about how to write short stories with success.

Which came first… The title or the story?

From the author’s perspective, catching the attention of the reader early is key. Without an early interest in the direction, readers are likely to fall off the pages of the piece.

Therefore, creating a strong title is one of the most important parts when writing… And one of the most difficult. Surprisingly, many attempt to create a title before even touching their pen to the paper (or finger to the keyboard). The truth of the matter is that your inspiration will come from your story, your story should not come from you title. You can have friends read your work, highlighting and underlining key phrases that stop or intrigue them.

Make every sentence meaningful, make every sentence count.

Believe it or not, short stories are just that… short. Avoid going on and on, leave the unnecessary details out -save this for a novel! – and try to keep the length under 3,500 words, the average length editors prefer.

Control your vocabulary.

Yes, don’t try to sound like the ancestor of Einstein or Shakespeare. When it comes to short stories, use ‘large and in charge’ vocabulary sparingly, but don’t cease to include the ‘tumultuous’ and ‘piquant’ every so often, to keep the audience intrigued, but not so many that they wonder what is going on.


While novels can handle a whole dozen characters, short stories normally do not introduce more than three main characters. Within such a short time span, you want to avoid distracting or confusing readers with various side plots, character relations, and interactions.

We hope that these tips inspire and aid all of the aspiring short story writers out there! We would love to have you share your final products with YA Interrobang and PennedApp!

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YA Interrobang

YA Interrobang is your source for all things YA literature. Want to work with us? Have a cover reveal or excerpt you'd like to host? Have a piece of news you'd like to share? Email our editor Nicole at nicole@yainterrobang.com.

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