Rules are made to be broken. How many times have we heard that? Before you go breaking rules, you might want to know why the rules are in place and give some thought to what will happen – including unintended consequences – when the rules change. Storytelling has been at the heart of human community learning from earliest times and the way a story is told will make or break its success for the reader.
The rules for stories rose from the way people hear and relate to their message. Stories were meant to share a vision of the world around and within us, as well as to inspire, teach, and continue as a memoir for a tribe or individual.
a. Early on in your story, set up the conflict and let the reader know what type of story this will be: mystery, drama, inspirational, etc.
b. Introduce your protagonist, the setting, the plot/conflict, and a pathway through to resolution.
a. Tell the story of the characters in their setting, working through the challenge.
b. Surprise the reader with a twist if possible, but not one that derails the setup.
a. Wrap up all the loose ends
b. Provide a transformative resolution.
Stories can be comprised of
- 6 words – example: For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.
- A piercingly dark piece of writing, taking the heart of a Dickens or Dostoevsky novel and carving away all the rest, Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story—fabled forerunner of flash- and twitter-fiction—is shorter than many a story’s title. http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/the-urban-legend-of-ernest-hemingways-six-word-story.html
- 2 sentences – Try it!
- less than 700 words
- up to about 5,000
- after that, your story becomes a novella.
- 80,000 to 100,000 words is a
Write a short story about your favorite moment of the day.
Next week’s topic: How to publish short stories.
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