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Submitted on
June 10, 2010
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10 Second Tip:
Stuck on a SHORT Story?

Stuck on what to put in your story?
-- This is the list of things I check off when I create a story:

Do you have a Setting in mind?
- Sci-fi
- Historical
- Modern day
- Fantasy

Do you have ONE big main event for the story to focus on?
- A battle
- An escape
- A love scene
- An act of revenge
- A sacrifice
- A treasure to claim
- A magic spell
- A transformation

Do you know what you want to SAY with your story?
- Love sucks.
- Friendship is forever.
- No good deed goes unpunished.
- A snake can only ever be a snake.
- Sometimes you have to take chances.
- Magic makes things worse, not better.

Do you know where you want to END your story?
- A wedding?
- A funeral?
- A bloody battlefield?
- An empty street?
- The bottom of an ocean?

Do you have your three central characters ready?
-- Just to make things interesting, any one of these three could be the Hero, the Villain, or the Ally.
- A main character that personifies what your story is trying to say?
- A main character that personifies an opposing opinion of the same topic?
- A buddy / friend/ love interest of one or both to personify Joe Normal stuck in the Middle?

Why did I mention Characters last?
-- Instead of making a story for my characters, I do the opposite. I make characters for my story.

Some people can come up with a cool character and then build a story around them. Sadly, I am not one of those. I can build a back-story just fine, but my back-stories are never good enough to be the Main Story. A back-story is how a character GOT his Issues. The main story is how they FIXED those Issues. See the difference?  

-- When I'm stuck on a story, I try thinking on these questions and often, they'll jog something loose.

Stuck on what to put in your story?
-- This is the list of things I check off when I create a story.

Posted as a submission by popular request! (All two of you.)

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.
Ookami Kasumi

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It's actually kind of funny because I also create the story before the characters, but I only just realized it :)

Sometimes I create a story around a pre-made character, but it is SO much easier to do it the other way


This will help if I ever get stuck on a short story.


There are several interesting events in the Naruto series that are told but not shown. So I thought of making short stories for those events to show what might have happened. And also there are several minor characters, some only given names in the databooks, which would make for an interesting main character to do some stories about.  

OokamiKasumi Dec 11, 2013  Professional Writer
I do that myself; write stories for unexplained events, or stories that circle around minor characters. (Of course, all my stuff is about events that will never be explained because they're all Adult encounters.) LOL!
I prefer to go this route: setting --> characters --> then plot --> fix characters. I find it easier to plot when I've got a motive, goal, and basic personality in place to drive the action of the story.

I like your approach to a lot of things. You do a lot of things the way I'd like to do them, if only I had figured them out myself.
OokamiKasumi Dec 11, 2013  Professional Writer
I like your approach to a lot of things. You do a lot of things the way I'd like to do them, if only I had figured them out myself.
 -- This means that given enough time, you Would have figured them out yourself. :)
DoodleZap Jul 2, 2013  Student General Artist
This really helped.
Especially the part about making a character to fit your story instead of making a story to fit the character.
That was the problem I was having.
Thanks for the help!
OokamiKasumi Jul 6, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm glad the essay proved useful.
-- Making characters to fit your story fixes a Lot of problems before they even come up, such as How you're going to end the story.
DoodleZap Jul 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks again!!!
The idea of developing a character to fit a story as opposed to a story to fit a character is such a simple but brilliant idea! Thank you for the tutorial!
OokamiKasumi May 30, 2013  Professional Writer
My pleasure!
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