WHAT TO WRITE? THE COMPONENTS OF A SHORT STORY

Snnopy writng 2

What happens when you have a story in mind but it just won’t gel? What makes it difficult to figure out the components of the story? You’ve tried to brainstorm ideas from the fragments you have but none of the ideas feel right. You’ve tried some research, but until you have a solid idea – what is there to research? You’ve tried the old trick of sleeping on the problem and still no luck.

There you are sitting at the blank computer screen and nothing comes to you. What’s a writer to do? Well what I do is close my eyes and think about the fragments I do have – let’s say a vision of someone walking away from the main character; the main character follows this person but doesn’t have a good idea why they are doing it. How can I make this a story? Then out of the blue the answer comes – a vision equals a dream. That’s where to start. Oops writers are told not to start a story with a dream – OK back up a bit. First thing in a story is to show the status quo i.e. the setting. Add the main character going about his business – his life before the vision/dream. Then add in the problem/conflict – the dream that puzzles him. Ok then what? The plot or what happens to advance the story from the dream to the resolution or the end of the short story. HA! I have a story and the words just flow now.

You’ll notice the key is to remember the five components of a short story:

Setting

Character

Problem/Conflict

Plot

Resolution

How do you put together a story from fragments of thought? Would love to hear your comments.

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