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Keeping Short Stories and Skits Brief


Photo of book covers and book by Anne Hart


Interestingly, the best thing I learned from earning a graduate degree in creative writing is to keep it brief if your story can be told in a few words. An example is Hemingway's six-word short story that went something like: For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn. Or another writer might come out with words in a science fiction environment such as this 6-word tome: For sale: Frozen embryos. Never born.


I always asked myself these three questions that have been said many times before writing a book, article, or fiction--novel, script, play, or life story. Lecturing isn't communicating. Connecting is.


Ask yourself these questions:


1. What's the situation, event, or experience?

2. What outcome/impact/result is it causing?

3. What's your resolution? (Solve the problem or get measurable results in clear and easy-to-understand steps the readers can follow.)


It really works as a formula for writing book proposals as well as a query letter and also for the book or follow-up. That's the basis of a good novel or nonfiction book. The details are in the where, how, why, and when.