The start, the middle and the end. And all within 600-800 words. Sounds a lot simpler than it is!
START: Introducing the main character at the start of your story is generally a good way to go, given you’ve got so few words to play with. You need to build up a picture of them really quickly and sharing what’s unique about them can be a really good way of doing this. Do they have a special personality trait (sensitive, adventurous, generous, playful)? What do they look like (extremely tall, wide-rimmed glasses , multi-coloured , scaly, silky fur)? Do they have a special talent or skill (fabulous night vision, can swim super fast , can leap incredibly high )?
MIDDLE: Once you’ve brought them into the story, there’s going to be a reason they’re there. So what challenge are they facing? Is it a problem that they or another character has? This element of the story needs to be shown, rather than just explained. Dialogue can be a great way for doing this, instead of just a description in the narrative.
END: Endings matter. A lot. They’re the last thing the reader remembers about the story. So make it an ending you’d want to read yourself. The challenge needs to be solved (preferably in an innovative, creative way, or things can get a bit predictable and boring). An element of surprise is always nice, to keep the reader engrossed and guessing for as long as possible. Again, show don’t tell. Perhaps one of the other characters says something that explains how the challenge will be solved. Or maybe an activity all the characters do together reveals the solution. Was what was happening throughout the story in fact the solution all the way along? Or maybe humour and a joke can illustrate how the challenge has been overcome. There’s no right or wrong way. Just try to avoid ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ – even if they did!