Narrative guidelines

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Short story, Charlotte Perkins Gilman Pages: 4 (348 words) Published: July 7, 2014

Narrative Guidelines

Stories can be created from a simple thought, a word, a headline, even a line from a song. Inspiration can come from the news, photographs, paintings, lyrics, people; simply everyday life.

Possible starting points: an experience that was particularly significant; a memorable journey; interesting people; unusual events; technological developments, personal interests; family history; unique relationships; a strange incident; a great challenge; an uncommon perspective.

Sketching and story-boarding can be useful ways to begin.

It would also be beneficial to read a selection of short stories before you start writing your own narrative.

Short Stories on the Web:
Appointment With Love, S.I. Kishor
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce
The Tell Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe
The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Flies, Patricia Grace
Boy, Frank Sargeson
The Fat Boy, Owen Marshall
A Visit of Charity, Eudora Welty
The Lottery, Shirley Jackson
Good Country People, Flannery O’Connor
Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut
Also try:
100 Best First Lines (Google)


When planning your story consider:
Purpose (to entertain or engage)
Genre (realism, science fiction, adventure, crime, horror….) Mood/atmosphere
Theme/underlying message
Setting (time and place)
Events, and the sequence in which they occur
Style (first person, flashback, chronological narrative….) Diction
Literary devices

Remember that a good short story has a very short time span. It may be one single event that proves pivotal in the life of the character. Don't have too many characters. Each new character will bring a new dimension to the story, and for an effective short story too many diverse dimensions (or directions) will dilute the theme. Have only enough characters to effectively illustrate the...
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