If you want to learn how to write a short story outline, you may have a good look at this post because this post teaches you a fast and easy way to do so.
Read any famous short story and think about this statement: If the short story took you to an interesting destination, the map to the destination must have been the story outlines.
So, even before learning to write the outlines, we should perhaps know how does writing the short story outline help one develop the story:
Opening picture from Pixabay
Is it Important to Learn How to Write a Short Story Outline
Once you have decided on the theme of your story, your job is to think of the path that will help you bring your theme to life. Outlines come into picture at this point.
Outlines are the captions of the building blocks of your story. These are the dots that connect to produce the tale. They depict the theme through these indirect paths. And I tell you, the more zig-zag a path you follow, the more interesting the story becomes.
Once you are done with your outlines, your job is only
Elaborating the story,
Beautifying the language and
Bringing the story as close to believability as possible.
How to Write a Short Story Outline in a Fast and Easy Way
The basic technique is,
Think of a central idea – the theme. This is the backbone of your story. The story revolves around this idea. It is equivalent of a writing prompt that we get to write around, at different academic levels.
To expand the story,
- Build up your story around the theme.
- Deviate from the end game as far as you can. Draw a road map – start from the farthest point, reach the conclusion at the end.
- Move one-step at a time.
- Question yourself at every step.
- Find multiple answers to the questions.
- Pick the most interesting answers.
- Your answers are the outlines (And let your answers be cryptic, indirect and convoluted).
- Compile and consolidate the entire short story outline.
We would follow the above mentioned steps and see what comes out.
Aakarshee has not been able to solve the mystery of the snap she found in her Dad’s suitcase.
- Who is Akarshee?
- Where does she live?
- Does her father live with her?
- How did she find the snap? Whose snap it was? What did it show?
- Why does she want to know about the snap?
- How has she tried to find out the truth of the snap?
- Why has she not been able to unveil the truth?
- How far is she from truth?
✔Aakarshee is a young girl aged 23 and studying in M Tech final year.
✔They live in the neighborhood.
✔They are new entrants in the colony. They came to live here last month since her mom’s application for a transfer from Nagpur to Delhi had been accepted by her office.
✔Aakarshee’s father died from heart attack about 2 years back.
✔Aakarshee’s father met with an accident and succumbed to death about 2 years back.
✔After her father’s death, Aakarshee found a snap in her father’s belongings.
✔She was searching for a life insurance policy in dad’s suitcase, which was due to mature soon. Suddenly, a snap fell from inside a diary. Though the snap was a black and white one, it grabbed her attention at once. It showed a beautiful woman with bobbed hair, deep dark eyes and a glowing face with a dazzling smile.
✔She had never seen this woman anywhere earlier. Who could she be?
✔ The first question that flashed in her mind was whether mom knew about it. She didn’t know but she felt an immediate urge to find it out.
✔ She had always held her father as a man with an impeccable character. Was this going to be under doubt forever?
6, 7 & 8.
I thought of two incidents that could answer questions 6,7 & 8. We shall form questions from the answers themselves and further try to answer them too:
✔ Incident 1
Incident questions & answers.
Q: Which incident took place that gave her a hope she would know the truth?
✔ She met someone ( a name) who knew something about the snap.
Q: What did the lady know about the photograph?
✔ Nothing. But she knew about an address that was written on the back of the snap.
Q: Did Aakarshee visit the address?
✔ Yes, she did. But could not meet the lady in the snap.
Q; What followed?
✔ The building in the address was locked. It turned out that the lady in the snap was the owner. But she had gone somewhere for a few days.
There is no breakthrough after that.
Suspense still hangs in the air.
✔ Incident 2
Incident questions & answers.
✔Aakarshee put the snap in her purse. A shop keeper happened to see it. He was surprised. Asked Aakarshee how and where she got that snap.
Q: How did the shopkeeper know the lady in the snap?
……… questions and answers may continue in this way.
So, here are the final, consolidated outlines, compiled by choosing the answers I liked most:
- Aakarshee and her mom live in the neighborhood.
- Aakarshee’s father met with an accident and succumbed to death about 2 years back.
- After her father’s death, Aakarshee found a snap in her father’s belongings.
- She had always held her father as a man with an impeccable character. Was this going to be under doubt forever?
- She met Neelima. She knew about the address that was written on the back of the snap.
- When Aakarshee enquired about the address, it turned out that the lady in the snap was the owner of the building. But she had gone somewhere for a few days.
- After that, there is no breakthrough. Suspense hangs in the air.
💓💓How easy that makes short story writing for you. You can sit and write in one go. Share with friends and acquaintances who might need these tips.
Accumulate Short Story Outlines
In order to be a productive short story writer, you may do something.
Prepare an inventory for yourself where you accumulate only outlines. This is because you are not always writing. Very often, a writer is in a thinking mode. So, whenever you think there is a story in the make, inside your mind, keep accumulating it in your inventory (may be a journal) even in bits and parts.
Later, say at a particular time, you have ten outlines in your store. Now, you make pick any one and start writing. You need not wait and the best thing is, you have options to suit your mood.