Short Story Writing Packet

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NAME:_________________________________________________ DATE:_________________
Short Story Writing Packet
Your second large writing grade will be to create your own short story. You will use this packet
to brainstorm your ideas for you narrative.
Choose a Writing Genre
Directions: Read below the following short story genres. Give an example of each genre. Next,
circle the genre you will be writing in and review the characteristics of that genre. Your writing
MUST INCLUDE these characteristics! Do NOT mix genres!
Mystery-fiction dealing with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of secrets.
Give an example (story or movie):_________________________________________________
Realistic Fiction-story that is true to life.
Give an example (story or movie):_________________________________________________
Historical Fiction-story with fictional characters and events in a historical setting.
Give an example (story or movie):_________________________________________________
Science Fiction-story based on impact of actual, imagined, or potential science, usually set in
the future or on other planets.
Give an example (story or movie):_________________________________________________
Fantasy-fiction with strange or other worldly settings or characters; fiction which invites
suspension of reality.
Give an example (story or movie):_________________________________________________
Each story, regardless of the genre, should invoke specific emotions (tone and mood) using figurative
language, imagery, and irony. Also, every story has a theme (or moral). Below, write down a few themes that
you would perhaps like to write a story about:
1.
2.
3.
Pre-Writing
Directions: Before writing a rough draft, a good strategy that writers do is brainstorm possible ideas related to
their writing topic. For example, if the topic you’re writing about is a success, a writer might brainstorm 3-4
situations in which a person might experience a success – like a spelling bee or a football championship. By
coming up with multiple ideas a writer will have an easier time choosing a situation to write about.
With that said, in the circle below write the key word of the writing prompt you chose. For instance, if you
chose the writing genre historical fiction, write HISTORICAL FICTION in the circle. Then, brainstorm FOUR
possible ideas that you might want to write about. Choose the idea you want to write about by drawing a star
next to it.
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Short Story Prewriting Continued…
Directions: Write your answers to each of the following questions, using as much detail as possible. You’ll use
the information here as you write your short story, so nearly everything you write can be used again!
1. Characters
a. Who or what is the main character?
b. What is the name of the main character?
c. What does he/she or it look like?
d. How old is he/she or it?
e. How does he/she or it get along with peers? Adults?
f. What events in his/her or its life led him/her to the main event in the story?
g. Who are some of the other characters? How do they relate to the main character?
h. Which point-of-view will your story be told from? (use our POV sheet on item 10 of your LN)
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2. Setting
a. Where does the story take place?
b. What does this place look like?
c. What does this place mean to the main character?
d. Why does the action in the story take place here?
3. Conflict
a. What does the main character want?
b. How does he/she try to get what he/she wants? (be specific—sequence of events)
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c. How do his/her actions affect the other characters?
d. How does he/she change because of his/her actions?
Things Your Short Story Must Have
Directions: Before writing your rough draft, remember that the following elements must also be included in
your short story:

setting details woven into the text

development of at least one character through the character’s words, thoughts, and actions and
through the words of other characters and/or the writer

a problem/conflict which is developed as the story (plot) progresses

a resolution of that problem/conflict (climax)

a conclusion (what happens after climax)

snapshots (things for the reader to visualize)

thoughtshots (characters’ thoughts)

dialogue
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Short Story Leads: Hooking the Reader
Directions: There are many ways a writer can begin a story. Below, are the most common two. Choose
between option #1 and option #2 (or talk to me if you have another idea!) and then draw a star next to your
choice. The option you choose will be the way you begin your short story.
#1 Begin a story in the middle of a conversation:
“If you don’t put that away right now, you and I are gonna have problems,” Carla snarled as Janet
scribbled in her writer’s notebook. Janet stared at her round face, squinting eyes, and muscular arms crossed
in front of her chest for just a second, snarled right back at her, and continued to write furiously. All the other
students around the playground were quiet. “Just who do you think you are?” Mrs. Fleming asked as April
slammed her notebook on the desk.
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#2 Begin with a description:
Millie’s face turned red when she entered the room. Stapled on the walls all around were pictures of
her. There she was holding the first place trophy high above her head after her team won the state basketball
tournament. Above the dresser was a poster-size photograph of her eighth grade graduation; she was
standing proudly at the podium delivering her class president’s speech. To the left of the door was a collage of
all her school pictures dating back to first grade, her gap-toothed smile framed by her dark face and tangled
brown hair.
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Rough Draft
Directions: Begin writing your first draft of your short story with a focus on the idea you brainstormed on the
page before.
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Revision – “Snapshot”
Directions: A snapshot is one way a writer can develop an idea in a piece of writing. It is showing the reader a
“photograph” of the scene. It involves the writer taking time to show the picture through sensory details,
concrete words, and poetic language (similes, for example). Good writing creates “snapshots” for the reader
through sensory details.
Return to your rough draft and draw a star next to ONE area that is in need of a snapshot. Copy the original
sentence or passage below.
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Now, with the emphasis on sensory detail (The FIVE senses – sight, taste, smell, sound, and touch) enhance the
original sentence or passage by re-writing it below.
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*Remember to include this “snapshot” when writing your second draft.
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Revision – “Thoughtshot”
Directions: A thoughtshot is a concrete way to reveal to the reader what a character is thinking. It can be an
important way to reveal personality, motivation, and even information to the reader. It serves to make the actors
in a story or personal narrative realistic by showing what they are thinking. It is yet another way to “show, don’t
tell.”
Return to your rough draft a draw a thought-bubble next to an area that needs a thoughtshot. Find a place in
your short story where you can enhance what your main character is thinking or feeling. Copy the original
sentence or passage below.
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Now, enhance this sentence or passage by including a thoughtshot. Don’t tell the reader what your character is
thinking, but show through words and actions.
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*Remember to include your thoughtshot revision in your second draft.
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Second Draft
Directions: Re-write your rough draft by including your newly written snapshot and thoughtshot.
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