Short Story Writing Tips for Fantasy| 4 EASY STEP

Hello Fantasy Writers!

Need help writing that fantasy short story?

That’s what this YouTube Video “Short Story Writing Tips for Fantasy| 4 EASY STEPS.” Is all about! Check it out here:

By the end of the video you will have 4 easy steps to make writing your short story SO easy, and help you greatly improve your short story writing skills!

I’ve used this exact 4 step formula to write my book, Twins of Shadow. Which is three short stories pieced together to make one novella. And now I use it for every short story I write.

So grab pen and note pad, or your phone and a note taking app, and let’s dive in!

But first!

For the best fantasy writing advice, be sure to subscribe to my channel (Abby Arthur) and hit the little bell so you are notified every time I post a new video every Tuesday.

And now it begins!

Here’s your first note:

Before you start writing your short story, there are a few things you need to figure out.

First off, your massive conflict.


This is the challenge your character is going to face.

The point of the massive conflict is to challenge your character so your story interesting. It also gives your story direction.

I like the word MASSIVE here because it’s not just a conflict or a minor plot.

This is the driving force of your story.

It HAS to be interesting AND has to risk everything your character holds dear. If it doesn’t do that, you need to pick a different Massive Conflict.

Let me give you some easy examples.

  • The queen is taken hostage, and the farmer boy who never knew he was her son, is now destined to save her.
  • The queen being taken hostage, that’s your massive conflict.

Here’s another example,

  • A fire breathing dragon comes to destroy the kingdom, and unwitting farmer boy is the only one who can save everyone.
  • In this story line, the dragon coming to destroying the kingdom is the massive conflict.

Word Count

The second thing you need to decide before you start writing is to decide how long your short story is going to be.

Specifically, what is your word count.

Short stories have such a wide word count range that they can be written in, but I recommended you choose about 4,000 words. This will help the for-step process be so much easier to implement.


The last thing you need to do before we jump into the four parts process is decide who’s narrating.

For simplicity sake, I recommend you keep it down to one character narrating for your first short story. In that case, it won’t become too confusing for your reader.

Once you have writing one perspective mastered, then you could branch out to two characters narrating.

And of course, you don’t even have to do it in first person, you can write it in third.

You also never have to branch out beyond one character narrating, but for those writers out there like me who just can’t help themselves, you can work up to it.

If you do branch out to a dual narration, make sure you pay close attention to how the story flows and make sure it makes absolute sense from the reader’s perspective. If it doesn’t, go back to one perspective.


4 easy short story writing tips

Alright! It’s time to reveal the four easy steps. I will simply list them here first, and then break them down over the rest of this post.

  • 1 Intro/set up
  • 2 The Chase
  • 3 The Returned Chase
  • 4 Confrontation

Since you know how long you want your story to be, you’re going to divide that number by four.

So if your writing 4000 words, each of these parts is going to be 1000 words.

Keep in mind that this is just a rough guide for your inner writer. Don’t stress about the word count. Your story parts can be slightly longer or shorter.

Knowing what your shooting for when you’re writing makes it so much faster and easier, trust me!

Now, Let’s go break these four parts down.

And at any point, if you have a question, be sure to post it in the comments below!

The Intro/ Set up.

This is where you show your reader who your main character is.

This is NOT where you show random facts that mean nothing to the story.

In fact, this is where you show me why the massive conflict is massive, even though you are not bringing in the massive conflict yet.

For example. Let’s go back to the dragon destroying the kingdom as the massive conflict.

Here in the intro, you will present farmer boy (or girl) and show us everything that is important to him or her.

  • His mom
  • His girlfriend
  • His little sister
  • His dream to start a new trade and help the villagers get ahead in life.

It’s important to give your main character traits that make your reader feel connect to your main character—cause the reader to feel the character’s compassion and real humanness.

Side note* When I say human, he doesn’t necessarily have to be of the human race, but he does have to have relatable qualities for the reader,

So the “humanness” comes from the way the person acts, not necessarily the race that the character is.

NOTE* This doesn’t mean the character has to be a “good person”. They can still be an assassin, but they just can’t be a total and absolute jackass, or your reader will not care about him or her.

In the intro, you will also HINT towards the massive conflict.

For example

Back to the dragon destroying the kingdom:

Our farmer boy could hear news that a dragon is attacking the kingdom, but it’s hasn’t come to the village yet.

This is because we are taking this time to establish what’s important to our character and it’s not time to have the massive conflict appear yet.

Bonus note*

Something you need when you are writing your story is an amazing first line.

The first line is you hook, and it better entice your reader IMEDIETLY!

Don’t give me a line like: the grass was green and the air was calm. Unless you’re going to match that with a sucker punch.

The grass was green the air was calm, laced with a deadly gas of poison wafting with the push of the wind.

So that’s the intro,

Let’s move on!

The Chase

This is where your MASSIVE CONFLICT appears. So after your first 1000 words, it shows it’s ugly head, and is the start of this quarter.

In detail, this is where the massive conflict appears and threatens everything you’ve just establish to be important to the main character.

  • His family
  • His business
  • His girlfriend
  • His dreams
  • WHATEVER you told me as the reader is important.

It’s not that the important thing is completely taken away yet, it’s just that it is threatened, and the main character now has to run away to survive.

For example:

The dragon arrives at farmer boys house, burns down house, threatens the village, severely injures his girlfriend. He runs away with said girlfriend and tries to find a way to heel her.

That now brings us to part three.

The retuned chase

This is where the main character now decided that his or her dreams (or whatever it is you told me is important to the main character) is now more important than his life, and he’s going to do something about the massive conflict.


This is where the farmer boy decides he needs to slay the dragon, and will therefore learn the skills to hunt down the dragon.

You have 1000 words to write here, so make it interesting.

The ending of this 1000 words or this part will bring us to the final part of the four step process.

The Confrontation

This is where our character has finally confronted the MASSIVE CONFLICT and we get our amazing, epic battle scene.


So, with the farmer boy, he is fighting the dragon to take back what matters to him, and this part will end with him winning.

Bonus Note on the confrontation*

Think of your short story as if it was a chapter within a full novel. In that case, you know you don’t have time to close a bunch of plot twist.

You do, however, need to close the MASSIVE CONFLICT or you will not have happy readers.

And you WANT happy readers to be a successful writer. Because happy readers read more of your books.

Another Side Note

Short story series CAN carry on the massive conflict over the entire series, but in that case, you need to have a sub conflict (an issue keeping your character from defeating the massive conflict), and that sub conflict needs to be resolved by the end of each short story in your series.

This in turn means you will have a minor “massive conflict” in each short story of your series, and your final short story in your series would then close your major massive conflict.


Now you know my four easy steps to writing a short story. Want to see them in action and make the plan stick better? You know you do!

Well remember how I used this formula to write Twins of Shadows, which is three short stories made into one novella. You can download the book for free right here and use it as a reference. Click the image below to download the book!

If you found this post helpful, hit that like button, leave a comment below, and be sure subscribe to my YouTube channel for more fantasy writing tips posted every Tuesday.

Also, share this this post or video with your writing friends to help them improve writing skills.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you, my fantasy writing friend, in the next video!

Abby writes YA fantasy for readers who love staring evil in the face, who wish to slay it with a glowing sword, and do it with a kick-ass lead you won’t forget. With over 20 years of writing experience, it’s her pleasure to take you to a world with magic, villains, and heroes you will love in a realm you won't want to leave. Join her VIP mailing list and get “Once Upon an Awkward Moment” FREE by clicking =>Here Now!.

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