Elements of the Short Story – The Outline

I wanted to share this graphic for creating an Outline for the Short Story. I hope you will find it as useful as I do.

One surprising thing is that most people think that writing the short story doesn’t require as much planning as writing a novel, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.


Because to tell the story entirely and correctly, within the word count, every single word has to count. Every scene needs to fit the framework, along with the arc of your MC. The story needs to reach a peak and come to a satisfying conclusion at the end.

Now, it IS true that writing a short story is a wonderful way to learn the craft of writing and to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Because you are working on a smaller word count, there isn’t as much pressure as writing a novel.

Additionally, writing the short story and submitting them to the myriad of short story competitions will help you find ways to meet deadlines. One of the best things to drive a writer to write is a deadline. And besides, these short-term goals can be great motivators.

There are fewer rules in writing the short stories, and you can even take the MC of your novel and write about their backstory. Or you can follow the fate of one of your supporting characters after they’ve left the book.

Though most people do not take the same amount of time to research and work on the plot of their short stories, the reality is that to make your story as sharp as you can, you need to do your diligence.

One of the best things you can do is write an outline. The outline will help you identify the key points you need to put into the story, and if you have created this road map, it will be easier to navigate the rocky road while you’re going over seventy miles an hour.

Until next time,

~Mustang Patty~

Published by Mustang Patty

I am finally a full-time author, who writes legal thrillers, how-to- books, short stories, flash fiction, a tiny bit of poetry, and Blog posts. My published works include 'Guilty until Proven Innocent,' 'Innocent for the Moment,' and 'Moment by Moment.' This is a trilogy called the Jill Adair Series. Additionally, I've written a collection of short stories about my dogs, Howie and Bernie - with a 2nd Collection coming in late 2021. I'm also coordinating an Anthology of Short Stories called, '2021 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology.' This book will be available on Amazon.com on August 1st of 2021. (The 2020 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology is currently available on Amazon.com - the collection includes 30 stories, written by 18 different Authors from three continents.) I am married to my wonderful hubby of over 37 years, and I have two grown children, named Heather and Gregory. I've been blessed with two beautiful grandbabies, Heather Rose and Logan Ernest.

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