Guest Author - Kathryn Jones Merry
Sitting down, preparing to write a short story about an idea or tale that is rattling about in your head could seem to be a simple process. The next ten minutes may then consist of staring at a blank word processing screen. So, for this article, letís assume itís a short story to appeal to the 3-7 year old audience. The main characters are Arlie, the Golden Retriever, and Ginger, the Beagle.
Will the story begin with them being lost or are they safe and cared for? Do they already know each other or will they be meeting each other? What kind of event or action begins their story? Do they have an enemy or a friend enter the story? For younger readers itís best to end the story with a smile; but a bit of excitement needs to move their adventure along to capture the imagination of a young mind.
Letís look at a few options. Our main characters are Arlie and Ginger and they are dogs. So this story will focus on the 4 to 8 year old reader or listener.
Using Brief Key Points
Arlie gets lost during a doggie parade.
Arlie meets Ginger who doesnít have a home.
Ginger helps Arlie to stay out of trouble, find food and shelter.
Arlie finally finds his home and brings Ginger with him.
They live together playing in the yard and enjoying their lives together.
Surprise, puppies arrive.
Organize Random Thoughts
Arlie is on his leash walking down Main Street with all the other dogs for doggie celebration day. They are all dressed in costume.
A horse pulling a wagon in parade becomes spooked and Arlie escapes during melee.
Heís lost and hungry when he meets Ginger. She takes him to the dumpster areas for dinner.
They sleep together in an abandoned dry shed where Ginger stays often. She shows him her special spots and teaches him to stay out of traffic and away from trains.
Arlie smells his home while the two are playing and chasing squirrels.
Arlie looks at her and she follows him home.
Arlieís owners share his bond with his friend and she joins their family.
Then, surprise Ė puppies!
Write Without Notes
Arlie gets off his leash during doggie event. He gets lost and Ginger makes friends with him. They find food and place to be safe at night. During their wandering one day, Arlie suddenly begins to smell the way home and takes Ginger with him. Puppies.
Each writer has the same idea but uses different methods to get the basic story. Try different ways of organizing how the story will read. Some methods require more re-write than others but some writers like to get the basics down, then return to fill in all the details. Other writers expand the adventure, dependent on the actual age of the reader. Regardless of how you plan your story, stay on pace and maintain the focus of the story. Decide whether the focus is Arlie wanting his home, or if it is about the special friendship, or just about the adventure that ends well. The main point is to find the organizational method that works best for the writer. The story should stay consistent in focus, and present a cohesive story. Happy writing!