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Steps to Writing an Interesting Short Story. SWBAT: By the end of this unit, I will be able to explain the steps of the writing process, explain what makes a good story, and create my own interesting short story. Writing a short story.

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steps to writing an interesting short story

Steps to Writing an Interesting Short Story

SWBAT: By the end of this unit, I will be able to explain the steps of the writing process, explain what makes a good story, and create my own interesting short story.

writing a short story
Writing a short story

A short story has a beginning, middle, and end. The characters meet and interact around a conflict. This allows the author to convey a message, known as the theme.

Your task is to create your own short story using the steps outlined in this presentation.

characteristics of a short story
Characteristics of a short story

Follow a consistent point of view (the view point or perspective the story is told from) Remember first person and third person point of view?

Develop believable characters so that the readers can identify and understand them; so readers can relate and connect to the characters.

The setting should be consistent with the characters’ personalities.

Develop a plot that includes conflict, rising action, climax,and resolution

characteristics of a short story continued
Characteristics of a short story continued:

5. Contain a theme or message for the reader

6. Show, instead of tell, about the characters, theme, and conflicts.

7. Use specific descriptions using good verbs and adjectives.

8. Use appropriate imaginative language and imagery

9. Use literary devices appropriate to your story, such as flashback, foreshadowing, metaphors, etc.

last but not least
Last but not least

10. Use dialogue when appropriate, Are your characters going to talk to each other?

11. Be of appropriate length, 200-800 words or around 1 to 4 pages maximum.

12. Make sure that each character, action, and word lead to a single end. Does your story makes sense? Does it end appropriately?

types of short stories
Types of Short Stories

Scary story: the goal of a scary story is to scare your reader. To do so, a character must face something frightening: a panther perched on a tree limb, wild river rapids, or being trapped in a haunted house.

Fable: are stories that teach lessons or morals. Morals are sayings like, “The early bird catches the worm,” or “ Look before you leap.” The characters in fables are often animals.

Urban fiction: is set in a large city and shows characters in conflict with the environment. Life is usually seen as being very challenging and difficult.

Mystery: to write a mystery you need a crime, a list of suspects, and a star detective. The goal of the mystery is to solve the crime.

Science Fiction: shows life in another time and place, often in the future. While things may be different in the new world, they make sense within the context of the story.

the writing process tools to help you write your story
The Writing Process Tools to help you write your story
  • Prewriting:
    • Step one: Determining the theme
      • Before you can begin writing your story you must first decide on what your message will be.
      • Write a sentence, which expresses the message you hope to leave with your reader.
      • Here are some examples:
        • Living by one’s principles requires sacrafice
        • A winning attitude helps people in life
        • Winning isn’t important; its how you play the game
prewriting continued
Prewriting Continued
  • Step two: Outline the plot
    • Now that you have a message, decide what conflict your characters will experience. Make yourself a list by answering the following questions:
      • What events lead to the conflict?
      • What initial conflict do they encounter?
      • What are the results?
      • How do the results build to additional, more complicated conflicts?
step two continued
Step two continued

What is the rising action?

What brings events to crisis?

What happens as a result of the crisis? What is the climax?

What is the end result or resolution?

Do the characters change as a result of their experiences? If so, what makes them change?

  • Step three: Developing the characters
    • Use the following guidelines to help you determine what your characters will be like:
      • What do they look like?
      • What is the character(s) background? Family? Education?
      • What kind of surrounding does the character like? Ocean? Ritzy furniture? Being outdoors?
      • What does the character think about? How do they react in certain situations? Are they emotional, friendly, funny, etc?
step three continued
Step three continued

What does the character sound like when he/she talks?

How does he/she behave?

How do others react to the character? Do they see the character in the same way?

Does the character see him/her the same way others do?

  • Step four: establishing the setting:
    • Jot down a brief description of where your story takes place. Imagine how it looks, smells, and sounds.
  • Step five: Selecting the point of view
    • There are three different points of view you can choose from.
      • Omniscient Point of View: the all knowing, all-seeing narrator. Only the narrator knows, sees, and understands everything that is going on. Only he/she can tell what every character thinks or feels.
        • For example: Jerrod and Krista stood contemplating the stack of sales records to be compiled before they could call it quits for the day. Neither wanted to work late; that was understandable. But Jerrod liked to ease back and let Krista assume the real burden. He hoped she’s make quick work tonight. Little did he know that Krista resented his mere presence.
step five continued
Step Five Continued
  • First person point of view: this uses I, me, my and our. This allows the author to tell the story form the point of view of the character. Only those feelings, observations, and reactions that the character experiences appear in the story.
    • For example: I stood there contemplating the stack of sales records to be complied before we could call it quits today. I just wanted to go home, be with my kids, watch the ball game.
step five continued1
Step Five Continued
  • Third person point of view: this uses he, she, they, them, and they’re, as well as people’s names. The story is told from only one character’s point of view, describing only what that character can observe.
    • For example: She stood there, contemplating the stack of sales records they had to compile before they could call it quits for the day. She wanted to go home, have a quick dinner with Tom, and curl up with a good book. She looked at Jerod.
step six putting the story together
Step Six: Putting the story together
  • As you begin writing your story, think about the following techniques:
    • Dialogue adds life to the characters
    • Showing, rather than telling, makes a superior story. Allow the reader to discover your characters and their conflicts.
    • Sentence structure should vary with character and action.
    • Use specific details and description.
step seven polish the story
Step Seven: polish the story
  • Once your story is complete you can begin looking for weaknesses. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Have I avoided simply telling my reader about characters, motives, and reactions? Instead, did I show these?
    • Are my characters believable? Are their actions appropriate to the situation?Are their motives clear?
    • Is the setting suitable?
    • Does the conflict seem likely or unlikey to happen?
    • Did I select the most appropriate point of view?
    • Have I maintained a consistent point of view?
    • Does the resolution grow naturally out of conflict?
step seven continued
Step Seven Continued:

Have I used effective sentence structure?

Are my paragraphs appropriate to the story?

Are my descriptions specific rather than flowery?

Have I included any of the finer points of literature; figurative language, imagery, foreshadowing, flashback, etc.?

Is my message clear? Have I avoided stating the message, making it, instead, evident through the action and resolution of the story?

Have I selected an appropriate title that suggests some important element of the story?

step eight polishing the final draft
Step Eight: polishing the final draft

Make sure your story is creative, check your word choice, check your spelling and grammar, and fix and irregularities you found while proofreading.