Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just seven

Write a story in just seven sentences. But not just any seven sentences! Each sentence will play a specific role

This idea is from author Jim Van Pelt who created it for a creative fiction writing class as an exercise in plot:


We talked about plot having several components: an inciting moment, rising action, a climax and a denouement. One way to see how a plot can work is to build a plot skeleton, a very short story, stripped of everything except the plot.

To write this kind of story, you are limited to only seven sentences. Each sentence has a specific role.
  1. Introduce what the main character wants and the first action he/she takes to accomplish the goal.
  2. The results of the action the character takes from sentence 1 has to make the situation worse. The character should be farther from the goal now.
  3. Based on the new situation, the character takes a second action to accomplish the goal.
  4. The results of the second action the character takes from sentence 3 is to make the situation worse. The character should be even farther from the goal now.
  5. Based on the new situation, the character takes a third and final action to accomplish the goal.
  6. This third action either accomplishes the character’s goal, fails to accomplish the goal, or there is an unusual but oddly satisfying different result of the last action.
  7. The denouement. This sentence wraps the story up. It could tell the reader how the character felt about the results, or provide a moral, or tell how the character’s life continued on.

After his class had a great deal of fun with this, he held a contest. When you're done, you can check out the entries.
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