1. Sketching Girl

    Sketching Girl New Member

    Aug 16, 2011
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    United Kingdom

    Plot: How much can you fit in a short story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sketching Girl, Aug 31, 2011.

    I usually plot out novels and spend most of my time attempting to write one (and never actually finishing one). I'm hoping that by attempting to write short stories I might actually complete them!

    So my question is how much can you fit into a short story? I've never tried to plot a short story and don't know what space of time, or how many events you might be able to fit in. Does it help to think of it as the length of a TV series episode? How do you best plan a short story?
  2. JackElliott

    JackElliott New Member

    Jul 17, 2011
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    It depends. Some short stories are slice of life, and they have no plot in the normal sense. That is the more character-driven kind of story.

    Short story plots tend to revolve around a singular event. So to build a plot, you would need the scenes leading up to the event (to establish place, character, rising conflict), and then a resolution / denouement.
  3. spklvr

    spklvr Contributor Contributor

    Oct 29, 2010
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    Sarpsborg, Norway
    I found that a way to help me go from novels to short stories was to start the story after it was done. For instance, I wrote a short story about two men horseback riding up a mountain, and then they start talking and arguing about events that had happened through their lives, and at the end it's revealed one of the men is dead after committing suicide, and the other man is up there to spread his ashes. So basically that whole story was just a recap of events. After doing that a couple of times, I got the hang of it, and could write stories with different structure. Now I write a lot of 10-20K stories as well. I call them long short-stories. They are more novel like in structure, but obviously a lot shorter.

    Anyway, a beloved English teacher of mine once told me to write short-stories like this: "Don't have more than three characters. Preferably not even that many. It should only have one plot-line, no introduction, a short build-up and a single climax. If you write more than three pages, I will lower your grade for each extra paragraph."

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