Short Story Creating your own story . . . From Reading to Writing Stories such as “The Masque of the Red Death” may horrify you, while other stories delight you with humor, suspense, or surprises. You not only have the opportunity to read the stories of others, but you can also create stories of your own that will affect others. Short Story Creating your own story . . . A short story uses characters, action, and setting to explore a conflict and create an experience that engages readers. Like all literary works worth reading, short stories entertain us and touch our feelings. At the same time, they teach us something worth remembering. Basics in a Box Short Story at a Glance Introduction Sets the stage by • introducing the characters • describing the setting Body Develops the plot by • introducing the conflict • telling a sequence of events • developing main characters • building toward a climax Conclusion Finishes the story by • resolving the conflict • telling the last event RUBRIC Standards for Writing A successful short story should • use the elements of character, setting, and plot to create a convincing world • use techniques such as vivid sensory language, concrete details, and dialogue to create believable characters and setting • develop and resolve a central conflict • present a clear sequence of events • maintain a consistent point of view Writing Your Short Story 1 Prewriting To imagine yourself inside another person . . . is what a story writer does in every piece of work. . . . Eudora Welty Writing Your Short Story 1 Prewriting Look for ideas for your story by Listing interesting settings, characters, and conflicts. Mix and match them, or ask yourself what story each might inspire. Remembering your daydreams. Contemplating recent news stories. Recalling experiences from your life. Planning Your Short Story 1. Imagine the characters and setting. Who will be in the story and how will you show their personality traits? What setting will you use? 2. Think through the plot. What are the main events? What is the conflict? Will the conflict be resolved? If so, how? You might make a sequence chart to help you organize your ideas. beginning event 1 event 2 event 3 final event/ resolution Planning Your Short Story 3. Choose a narrator. Who will tell your story? Will the story be told from the first-person or third-person point of view? 4. Create a mood. Will your story be frightening, humorous, or mysterious? 5. Identify your goals and audience. Are you writing for children, your peers, or a general audience? Writing Your Short Story 2 Drafting Begin your story wherever you like—at the beginning, the conclusion, or the incident that triggers the conflict. Many good stories begin in the middle and then go back to the beginning to provide more information. Remember, however, that the order of events must be clear. Writing Your Short Story 2 Drafting Flesh Out the Characters To make your characters real, use description dialogue action Writing Your Short Story 2 Drafting Use Description to Show Rather Than Tell Your Story For instance, instead of telling the readers that Seth and Caleb disappeared, the writer uses description to show them disappearing: “A ray of light fell onto them. As if they were floating on the beam, they slowly faded away.” Writing Your Short Story 2 Drafting Organize the Events A natural way to organize events in a story is to use chronological order—the order in which events occur. Another choice is to use flashback—a recalling of past events. After the flashback, return to the present and continue telling the story. Just be sure that the sequence of events and the connections between ideas are clear. Writing Your Short Story 3 Revising TARGET SKILL USING DIALOGUE Dialogue can add suspense to your story and help readers get to know your characters. Good dialogue shows the most important things characters say to each other. Writing Your Short Story 4 Editing and Proofreading TARGET SKILL PUNCTUATING DIALOGUE In writing dialogue, remember to start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes. Also, use single quotation marks to indicate a quote within a quote.