Mary Robinette Kowal claims you can write short stories using a formula. I watched her classroom lecture on Brandon Sanderson’s YouTube channel and decided to give it a try.
Did it work?
Actually, yes! I wrote a flash fiction piece called “Cordelia’s Curse,” and Dark Recesses Press published it in their e-zine.
You can read “Cordelia’s Curse” here, free! It’s the first time that someone else created an illustration for one of my stories. I thought that was cool!
Astute readers may notice a common element between “The Hay Bale” and “Cordelia’s Curse.” But I took the flash fiction piece in a completely different direction, heh-heh-hehhhhhh.
If you do read my flash fiction piece, look for these formulaic steps:
- An opening action the MC does that describes her mood.
- The location defined by a sensory detail.
- A genre-specific detail.
- An explanation of what the MC is trying to do and why.
- An explanation of what is stopping the MC from doing what she wants.
- Try-fail cycles. Maybe a few.:-)
- A closing that mirrors the opening and shows the changes that have happened.
Will I write all my stories using a formula? Of course not, but it was an excellent exercise in story structure.
Thanks to all who emailed and asked how my move to Texas went and if we’re all settled in. Actually, no, we’re not settled in. We planned to rent when we got here while we looked for a small place to buy, but no one would rent to a couple with a hound dog and four cats. So we’re shacked up at our daughter and son-in-law’s place. The hubster is telecommuting from the guest room. Our daughter suddenly had to have surgery, so I became an impromptu nanny for the newborn grandson. I’m no longer working, so it’s like this odd situation was meant to be for now!
Feature image by Dan-Cristian Padureț on Unsplash.