“The author is the master of the outline, not its slave.”
~ K.M. Weiland
You want to write a short story.
You had an idea, but halfway through writing the story, your ideas dried up.
So, you put it aside. It’s still sitting in a file somewhere - hiding.
Since that attempt, you’ve had other ideas - lots of them, but that half-finished story is still haunting you.
You’re not sure how to get your ideas from your brain to the page in a way you can use. Organizing them seems impossible!
The Short Story Blueprint has three superpowers that will help you stop procrastinating, organize your ideas, and start writing the story that’s haunting you.
Superpower #1: Defines Word Count
The scary part of writing is once you get started, when will it end?
Good news: the Word Count Planner™ is part of the Short Story Blueprint™. It will help you decide how many words to include in your short story, as well as exactly how many words you’ll need to get to the next plot point. This means you’ll know how much of the character backstory you can include or how descriptive you can be. The constraints will improve your creativity and will allow you to end up with a balanced first draft. You won’t be trying to fly a jumbo jet off a short runway.
Different sized airplanes require different runway lengths to get off the ground, so it is with stories.
A 1,000-word short story has a short runway, perfect for a two-seater plane. You’ll be in the air and to the inciting incident in the first 250 words.
In contrast, a 7,500-word short story is like that jumbo jet - it needs a longer runway to gain enough speed to take off. You’ll have 1,875 words to get your 7,500-word short story off the ground. Your story will need more context to carry it once it’s off the ground. It’ll be in the air for 4,125 words before the final plot point, and the descent will take 1,500 words, rather than the 200 it will take to get your 1,000-word story landed.
With that in mind, think of the short story you’re writing. Is it a two-seater hobby plane or a jumbo jet? Knowing what kind of plane you’re flying will help you decide your word count.
Join us for SuShoStoMo (Summit Short Story Month). Click here to join SuShoStoMo and get resources (including the Short Story Blueprint™) delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re available.
Superpower #2: Automatically Creates a Story Arc
Once you’ve determined your word count, it’s time to check out the Short Story Blueprint™. It highlights seven critical destinations (plot points) in your story. When planning your short story, the details for each destination will read like a travel brochure - you’ll know what your characters will be doing at each plot point.
Have you ever watched the movie version of a book you’ve read?
Maybe you loved the book and hated the movie.
Did the producer leave out your favorite scenes?
There’s a good chance that they did, but if you look at the Short Story Blueprint™ and note the book's main plot points, I’m willing to bet they’re included in the movie.
The movie is like that two-seater plane - not much runway needed to take off, and a shorter trip capacity. The book - it’s a jumbo jet. That’s why you got to learn the character’s backstory - there was time.
When you’re writing your short story, you can choose to do the movie version (1,000-word short story) or the book version (7,500) of the story. Or something in-between.
Word count determines the number of scenes between plot points.
And knowing that gives you the freedom to write your story out of sequence.
Superpower #3 - Gives You Confidence
Everyone writes a short story a bit differently - it depends on how your brain works. If you use the Short Story Blueprint™, you’ll have an idea of the milestones your characters have to reach along the way. If you’ve determined your short story length, you’ll know how many words you have to work with to get your character to the next milestone.
This knowledge gives you creative power. When you wake up in the middle of the night because you know what’s going to happen to your character in Act 3 even though you haven’t written Act 2 yet, you’ll be able to write those scenes because they fit in the overall story arc - that’s essentially what you’ve created with your Short Story Blueprint.
If you’re at the mall and inspired by a situation you witness, you can create that scene for your character.
You’ll end up with a bunch of scenes that need to be connected - no worries. And those scenes you wrote that didn’t make the final cut - they mattered because they flavored the rest of the story.
Are you ready to unleash the three superpowers of the Short Story Blueprint™?
Join us for SuShoStoMo (Summit Short Story Month). During October, we’ve been preparing to write by brainstorming and outlining a short story. We'll start writing that story on November 1st.
Click here to join SuShoStoMo and get resources (including the Short Story Blueprint™) delivered to your inbox.