I’ve often heard how hard it is to write funny. It’s true that funny can be difficult to pin down. There are things like timing, word choice, necessary imagery; funny can definitely be hard to capture or even define. Scary, on the other hand, seems to take many shapes and forms. Scary can even be funny.
Nevertheless, scary can be just as tricky because it is so easy to get carried away. Over the top gore, flying body parts and viscous goo leaking everywhere can certainly be frightful, unfortunately, it can just as easily be just…disgusting, revolting and nauseating, and in the end, not all
For a lot of people, young and not so young, the thought of writing a short story is nothing short of terrifying. Certainly daunting, unnerving and even seemingly impossible. Pshaw! I say. Writing short stories is a blast. And it is easier than you think.
Short stories contain three basic elements: a beginning, a middle and an end. I know that sounds simplistic but really, doesn’t every story, no matter its length? Another way to look at is that the story tells you that something happened. It then goes on to tell you what happened, who it
happened to, how, where, when and why and what happened because of what happened. Clear as mud, right? Let’s break it down a bit more.
Using the prompts from the (8th Annual) GP Creeper Short Story Contest prompts, let’s give it a try.
A terrified writer who is hiding something finds herself in an empty town. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Okay, so what is she terrified of? Why is the town empty? Where is it? When is it? What is she hiding? What wasn’t supposed to happen?
The story will answer those questions.
The writer is terrified she’s caused the town to be suddenly empty, she just can’t remember why—or what she might have done. She’s hiding
shadowy, hideous memories of…wishing them all away so she could have quiet to finish her novel. She had never meant things to go so far. And now that she’s alone, what will happen to her? What if they all come back? What if they are very, very angry at her? What will happen next? How will it all turn out?
Just like that you have the fixings for a story. Challenging students to write short stories is the ultimate fun grammar lesson. Offering them a competition, even better. Writing with a purpose is the difference between writing because you have to and writing because you want to. You may be surprised at how addicting it can be. Create fun grammar lessons by giving them a reason to write.