3 Important Short Story Conventions to Look at Right NOW.

Did you know that there are 3 important short story conventions to look at right now to create the best story you’ve ever written?  Before we begin this journey, you’re going to need to do the following:

  1. Grab the short story you’re working on at the moment or the one that’s been collecting dust because you’ve tried to submit it to different places, but haven’t had much luck.
  2. Writing Utensil — Pen or Pencil
  3. Highlighter
  4. Tarot or Oracle Cards

Yes.  Do this right now.

Breathe some life into your story with these 3 absolute “must include” elements.

One Plot.

You read that right.  I’ve edited some short stories that had a main plot and then a subplot.  There’s no way to write a novel sized plot sprinkled with subplots.

How in the heck do you find that ONE plot?

What is your story about?  One short story that consisted of multiple plots resulted in three different short stories.  The author had three major short story plots going on within one short story.  We took out three different colored highlighters and lumped the same story thread together.

Not sure what a short story plot looks like?

I follow this format

Writer's Oracle Short Story Plot

A Short Story Plot
Photo credit: Meli Halstead

Let’s look at it with Tarot

As I shuffled the deck, I meditated on the story I was meant to write.  Here is a pic of my spread:

3 Important Short Story Conventions to Look at Right Now

What kind of story do you see here?

In the beginning we have the Page of Cups.  So many possibilities that can happen here, but remember we want to start with ACTION or even CONFLICT.

The Hermit comes into the rising action which leads to Judgement in the center of the climax.  What an interesting shift and short story plot.  I’m intrigued and my imagination is weaving a really cool rough draft.  Now, we move into the falling action that centers around The High Priestess and ends with the Knight of Swords.

Now you know what my spread looks like, go ahead and shuffle your cards.  Meditate on what your short story is supposed to look like.  Pick out five cards and lay them out using the Plot Spread.

Still shaky on plot, check out this source.

Now that you’ve got a strong foundation for plot, let’s look at the power of the beginning.

In the Beginning

When I hear those words, it’s almost biblical.  To be more specific, John 1:1 wrote: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

You’re the creator of your story.  You are the deity of your words.  It is you who must start in the beginning. However…

There is a BIG however in this.  You must begin in the middle of an action or a conflict.  A short story is like a slice of pie.  Life is the whole pie, and you’re just showing us the slice.

Create Scarcity

In another short story I edited, the author had many characters that it appeared directionless.  Meaning, he incorporated several characters, but there was no resolution with them.  The large number of characters hindered his story rather than enhance — what his intentions were in the first place.

Look at your story. Is it riddled with many characters?  Highlight your main character.  Center the story around your main character.  It is okay to include another character, but the role they take is minor.

Remember, we talked about the slice of pie.  In the whole pie, there are tons of characters, but when you take a slice — you’re only focusing on a small pool of people.  Even perhaps two or three people.

Go ahead and edit your story!  You have the power to create a strong slice of pie that is worth writing.

SignatureDo you want an oracle reading for your characters?  Do you need help brainstorming and/or outlining your story?  Let me help you with that. Check out the amazing services I provide for my amazing writers!

Meli Halstead is a kickass intuitive teacher who helps writers get their stories written using a variety of oracles.  She has held several workshops to help writers get their thoughts into book form.  Her goal for the 2014 – 2015 year is to help 1300 writers write their book.  She has written and published several short stories in her life time.  She also gives a voice to those who are trapped in the cruel world of human trafficking.  She blogs regularly at www.writersoracle.com.

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

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