FemaleUnited KingdomMember since 20 Jan 13Age 20Last online 5 years ago

I love short story writing.
I love Robin Hood and Harry Potter.
Future Actress in the making xD

  • RavenHood

    mumbled "How to structure a short story in eight stages..."

    5 years agoReply
    1 Like

    1 Stasis
    2 Trigger
    3 The quest
    4 Surprise
    5 Critical choice
    6 Climax
    7 Reversal
    8 Resolution


    This is the “every day life” in which the story is set. Think of Cinderella sweeping the ashes or Harry Potter living with the Dursley’s.

    Something beyond the control of the protagonist (hero/heroine) is the trigger which sparks off the story.

    The quest
    The trigger results in a quest – an unpleasant trigger (e.g. a protagonist losing his job) might involve a quest to return to the status quo; a pleasant trigger (e.g. finding a treasure map) means a quest to maintain or increase the new pleasant state.

    This stage involves not one but several elements, and takes up most of the middle part of the story. “Surprise” includes pleasant events, but more often means obstacles, complications, conflict and trouble for the protagonist.

    Critical choice
    At some stage, your protagonist needs to make a crucial decision; a critical choice. This is often when we find out exactly who a character is, as real personalities are revealed at moments of high stress. Watts stresses that this has to be a decision by the character to take a particular path – not just something that happens by chance.

    In many classic stories, the “critical choice” involves choosing between a good, but hard, path and a bad, but easy, one.

    In tragedies, the unhappy ending often stems from a character making the wrong choice at this point – Romeo poisoning himself on seeing Juliet supposedly dead, for example.

    The critical choice(s) made by your protagonist need to result in the climax, the highest peak of tension, in your story.

    The reversal should be the consequence of the critical choice and the climax, and it should change the status of the characters – especially your protagonist.

    Your story reversals should be inevitable and probable. Nothing should happen for no reason, changes in status should not fall out of the sky. The story should unfold as life unfolds: relentlessly, implacably, and plausibly.

    The resolution is a return to a fresh stasis – one where the characters should be changed, wiser and enlightened, but where the story being told is complete.
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