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Short Story Draft 2

Write a second, improved draft of your short story; on the left margin, annotate changes from previous draft.

The original prompt, from Springboard, page 143:

Your assignment is to write an original narrative from real or imagined experiences or events. Your story must include a variety of narrative techniques - such as foreshadowing, point of view, figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and/or irony - as well as effective details and a well-structured sequence of events.

There are a LOT of details to this prompt, and you should use the previous week’s homework handout as a guide to your revisions! In addition to that handout and what has been said, we have the advice of Kurt Vonnegut, which we heard in class. This revision guide is targeted toward his suggestions (which I have condensed):

  • Do Not Waste the Reader’s Time
    • Do not put in details that are unnecessary or are distractions. Be sure that you aren’t repeating yourself and that you aren’t spending paragraphs on setting or character details that are not important later
  • Create One Character the Reader Will Root For
    • If we do not care about your characters, we do not care about the story. There can be no stakes, no tension, no sense of investment if the reader cannot invest their hopes and expectations on a character.
  • Every Character Must Want Something
    • If there is a character in the story, they are a character that has something that motivates them. If they don’t have a motivation, you do not need them in the story. The thing they want can (and probably should include) something emotional, psychological, or intellectual.
  • Every Sentence Reveals Character or Advances Action
    • Only give details that help us understand, prepare for, and witness the character or action. Only use setting details that do these things too (knowing how the character responds to a setting is important, but if they don’t react and that location will not be important later, you are wasting our time)
  • Start as Close to the End as Possible
    • How to tell you are not close enough to the end: you have too many characters or settings. The only characters that matter are those who are directly involved with the climax; the same is true with setting. My advice: start the novel near or already at the setting where the climax will take place, and don’t go many other places (if any).
  • Be a Sadist
    • You must challenge your characters. The reader must see how they deal with stress, how they manage conflicts that are both internal and external. They may be successful or fail, but there must be a struggle.
  • Write to Please Someone
    • Think about what someone else (your reader) wants out of a story. Do not write a story a certain way because it satisfies you alone. If you want someone else to read it, then be considerate of your reader.
  • Get to the Point
    • Do not spend a bunch of time working up to the climax. Short stories are about seeing characters struggle with a conflict; they are not about waiting to get to the conflict. Get us there and do it soon. To understand the conflict, we must also understand character and setting immediately. Not only is this good practice, but it builds expectation in the reader. A reader who has expectations is a reader who is invested.


Goals are to write an improved narrative that includes a variety of techniques, follows the progression of a narrative story (exposition, rising action, climax, resolution), and includes character development
Exemplary Work is well written with clear consideration of the details: the advice provided above is clearly shown in the changes that have been made.


Earlier Event: November 29
Reading Log
Later Event: December 11
Reading Log