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Author: Nicolas Braun
7 Key Questions to Ask When Writing a Short Story
The structure of a short story is pretty similar to other forms but it makes you focus on one scene and situation instead of many. However, it does not mean that writing a short story is much easier: you should concentrate your attention on describing a short action and also ask yourself seven essential questions that will make a base for your paper.
Short Questions for a Short Story
Have you ever written anything except for the college essays? Before you start writing a short story, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is your hero? Every story no matter how long it is should have a character whose journey the readers follow. When you are creating him/her, you should know everything about this person, their character, habits etc. Will it be male or female? What age are they? What strong and weak points do they have? What status in the relationship and what reputation? Your character will be making decisions so it should be thought out. It is also essential to think about the place your story happens: it will not be good without a great setting with every detail described in it.
- What does your hero want? The story is driven by a desire of the character, so do you know what he/she exactly wants? Even if the story is short, you would need to show a brief struggle in the life of your character so it should be something really important.
- What conflict does your hero face? What is the opposition of your character? Usually, it is another person or people who try to stop your hero from getting the desired thing. Conflict is essential for the story to be interesting.
- What does your hero need? This is the heart of your story where you should describe what causes your hero to do what they do. What does the character learn to overcome the opposition? He/she needs to grow and experience deep personal change.
- How does your hero overcome the opposition? Here you should identify what your character is going to do to overcome these people. You should focus on one event where he/she is struggling and stand their way.
- What is the thing achieved? After the hero achieves the final goal the conflict needs to be resolved. The journey is finished and something should happen.
- How to structure a short story? This is, probably, one of the most important questions. It is actually up to you but a standard flow is the following: you start with exposition and introduce your hero, then goes rising action where the hero fails to reach his goal. It is followed by climax – the highest point of conflict and a falling action (achieving the goal). And finally, there is a resolution when a hero is back to normal life.
The most important thing in your story and your main goal is that readers become engaged with the hero, understand and support him.