Short Story Tools

So I’m about to be hitting the road for work today and I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off all morning, so for today’s post I’m going to reproduce the fabulous Carradee’s comment on yesterday’s check-in post because it provides a lot of great things to think about when it comes to writing short stories and I figure some folks might not have seen it in the comment trail.

From Carradee:

What helps me with short stories is to sit down and answer:

1. Who is my protagonist?
2. What is my protagonist’s goal in the time frame of the story?
3. Who is my antagonist?
4. What is my antagonist’s goa in the time frame of the storyl?
5. How do those two goals conflict?

If I’m still stuck after answering those, I’ll ask:
6. What desire drives my protagonist?
7. What desire drives my antagonist?

I’ve also found that helps to use John Booth’s “template” for short story structure (see this site). [Note from Kait: I checked out that site yesterday.  John Booth, who is apparently guesting for Declan Connor, totally had a handle on this short story thing–go read!].

1) The Setup – an event that triggers the story
2) The Action – what follows and why
3) The Resolution – when a conclusion is reached
4) The Twist – where you turn the story on its head.

See y’all tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “Short Story Tools

  1. One of the reasons I don’t like most short stories is that they are lacking #3 of the story structure. Many times I’m sitting there wondering where the rest of the story is.

  2. Oh, I’m glad you liked that comment, Kait! 😀 I hope it helps as you work on short story writing.

    I know I’ve found it helpful to have a Scrivener template for the setup in my “short story” project. 🙂 (Have a template page for the questions, too.)

    Technically, a lack of resolution—and even a lack of a plot—is a type of fiction, but it’s more widely accepted in languages other than English.

  3. Great advice, Kait. I’ve been looking for information on short stories and this is one of the most solid plotting models I have seen so far.

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