How to Edit Short Story

If you are a budding author writing a short story, you could struggle to edit your writing. Editing your creative writing can be tough and exhausting as you could have a mixed feelings for your writing. So, editing could take time and drain your enthusiasm. Most of the time, editing your short story can be done quickly, yet do you know where to start? Additionally CBSE has focused on creative writing through the Budding Authors programme.

If you are looking for ideas, this article will give you ways you can start editing your short story.  

How budding authors can edit short story?

First of all, congratulations budding authors! It’s a big deal to finish the first draft of your short story. You probably must have built your story’s main characters. Built several subplots that involve other characters. Even though all of this is impressive by itself, your work has only just begun. During the revision process, good stories are revisited and turned into amazing stories. Read to find 9 ideas to help you edit.

Also read: Budding Authors Guide to Write Story

1. Pause before you edit story

After your first draft is done, take some time off from your story. If you revisit too soon, you might struggle to get a fresh perspective. Once you come back to the story, there are several aspects you need to check including the structure.

Also read: CBSE Budding Authors Program

2. Check story elements

Check if all the story elements are present. A drama, internal or external, keeps the reader invested in the story. So, is there the right amount of drama? Are the story elements in tune with the genre you are writing in? For instance, if it’s a short story in fantasy fiction, check if the story elements are fantastical or exaggerated.

Also read: Visual Prompts for Narrative Writing

3. Is Your theme consistent?

The reader’s attention is invested in the story and they go along with your viewpoint as an author. Check if this investment is justified. What message are you conveying? Is the drama matching with the purpose of the story?

4. What is the story’s purpose?

The purpose of telling the story is the theme. Is it conveyed clearly? Read the story aloud to someone in your audience age group and ask them questions to check if the message of the story is clear. All the aspects of the story must support the theme. Is the story message valuable? Will it help the reader in some way?

Also read: Science Fiction Book Written by a Teenager

5. What is the tone like?

Does the reader feel what you want them to feel while reading the story? To make the reader empathetic towards your characters, make them relatable. Give them human emotions and dialogues that take the story forward. What the readers feel while reading the viewpoint is the tone.

6. Whose viewpoints are conveyed?

The purpose of viewpoint is to build the characters, give perspective, visualize the world and events, and take the story forward. For instance, point of view can be in first person “I”, second person “You” or third person “He”.

Also read: Ways to develop reading habit: kids, teens and adults

The omnipresent narrator’s voice is in third person and can represent any character. Viewpoint is blended in the narrative. As an author, stick to one or represent one point of view. Do not jump from one viewpoint to another too quickly to ensure the reader does not get confused. Readers must know right from the start whose viewpoint they are reading.

The way of looking at things gives voice to the characters. It helps in developing the characters personality. The reader will visualize the story through the viewpoint you provide. Consider removing the fluff and unnecessary details that do not make any difference to the story theme.

7. Have you built the story world or setting?

Check whether the world/environment the story is happening in is matching. The story elements, viewpoint, and character’s development, all aspects have to support the main idea of the story and look complete. Everything in your story must have a reason to be there. Ask questions about everything in your story. Is this helping the story?

Also read: List of Magazines for Teenagers and Children’s Reading

8. Edit, do your story characters have depth?

Look if you can make all your story characters and plot points better. Add new details or subtract details about a character. If you know a lot about a character’s past as the author, make sure your reader does, too. Keep the theme in mind and verify if the character’s thought process and actions are consistent with the message you are trying to convey as an author.

9. Take a Printout

See how your words look on print. Show your story to 2 or 3 people. Get them to read it and ask for their feedback. Check if you are happy with the events, characters, dialogues, tone, theme, setting, viewpoint, and story structure. Make the necessary changes.


Reading this article would have given you ideas for how to edit your short story. Some first-time writers think of editing as mostly making changes to grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation. These parts are important, but these kinds of changes usually come at the end of the process.

See that every part of your novel is equally interesting. So, ensure the sentence structure, events, dialogue, and the language you use to describe things create the message and take the story forward. The CBSE board has introduced the Budding Authors programme as part of their Reading Mission. These editing ideas will help aspiring budding authors. You will do a great job with the story that you like.

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