Developing a Short Story

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

From a short to something more...

I finished semester one of my MA with a short story. I absolutely loved the characters but there was something about the plot that prevented me from taking it further. The piece had a strong economical message, that I really wanted to keep, but the story alongside it seemed to compromise the message.

So, I asked a million questions. I deleted some characters from existence or smushed a few into one. I pondered the plot and how I could make it interesting whilst keeping the true meaning of the story.

The more questions I asked, the clearer it became. The characters began to jump from the page, the story made sense and the economic message was clear. It was surprisingly easy to expand the story once I began picking it apart.

Begin with the basic plot of the short story. Write the plot down in stages. Where is the stories peak? Are the stakes high enough? Expand areas that need expanding. Change bits that need changing. Ask, 'How would my character react if ...'

Question asking has been a blessing to my stories development. No question is too small or too silly. The tiniest question can unlock something so important.

Often the greatest ideas come in the form of the smallest details,

Thanks for reading,

Alex Allison


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