Readers asked for a basic short story template. On Fab Freelance Writing Blog, we’ve been talking about writing and self-publishing short fiction.
Writing short stories is an excellent strategy for any writer. Let’s look at some reasons:
- Money — you can sell your short fiction on the Kindle bookstore;
- Confidence. You can build your confidence that as a writer that you can finish and PUBLISH what you write;
- Promotion: you can publish short fiction as a lead-in to your novels, and build a fan-base;
- Fun. If your writing feels stale, writing a quick story can often rekindle your inspiration.
Plotting a Short Story: Keep It Simple
Fiction is about CHANGE. Change is uncomfortable, which is excellent. You want to knock your characters out of their comfort zone, and see what happens.
Basic Story Plot Template: Someone Wants Something, Overcomes Obstacles, and Gets It (or Not)
Here’s an easy step by step template for writing short fiction.
1. Someone — Your Main Character — Wants Something.
He wants to achieve a specific goal. He also has a hidden need. For example, your character, Fred, an accountant, might want a promotion at work. His hidden need is to build his confidence.
Write a page or two so that the reader gets to know and like the character. Are you familiar with the Hero’s Journey (HJ)? You can use various aspects of the Hero’s Journey for your short stories. The Hero is an archetype; using an archetype makes your story powerful, because unconsciously, your reader recognizes himself. We’re all on the Hero’s journey.
Here’s an outline of the HJ. Step #1 is your character’s Ordinary World.
2. Your Story Starts When Something Changes in Your Character’s Ordinary World.
This change is drastic: it results in changes in your character. In the HJ, this is The Call to Adventure.
In our example, Fred might make a mistake on a big client account. Not only isn’t he getting a promotion — he gets fired. This increases the pressure of his hidden need: it deflates the confidence he has, rather than building confidence.
3. Complications. In the HJ, This Is the Tests, and the Ordeal.
Fred goes through three complications. In a novel, he’d go through many obstacles and complications. In a short story, three are enough. Each complication makes your character’s situation worse, until the final complication, which is the Ordeal in HJ terms.
Brainstorm complications. Write down some “what ifs.”
In Fred’s story, complications could be:
- His landlord tells him to vacate his apartment, because it’s being sold;
- His girlfriend betrays and dumps him;
- His mother comes to visit.
4. The Resurrection.
After the final big complication, your character wins through, just when it seems as if things couldn’t get any worse. Fred not only finds a new girlfriend, he also gets a better job than he had before — and he’s now building real confidence in himself.
Fred also “sees the light”: he understands himself better than he did before. This is the “ephipany” — your character, and by extension the reader — learns something about himself. If you can develop an ephipany, your short story will be very satisfying for the reader.
Kindle Short Fiction Domination: Today’s Blueprint For Writing Success And Income (4-week class)
Want to write short fiction and build a successful career? For the first time in decades, it’s possible to write short stories and make a great income. Each week, for four weeks, you receive a new lesson, in PDF format, via a download link sent to your email inbox.
As we move through the class, you’re not only writing your own short stories, you’re also discovering the Kindle short fiction BLUEPRINT… What to publish, and when, so that your Amazon income steadily increases. Join us. 🙂
Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..
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