Day 2 – A Solid Support

I’m continuing to ease you in to this challenge with tiny tasks, and today’s is to download The Short Story Framework and file it away in your dedicated StoryADay workspace. 

(You did set one up, didn’t you?)

Why Use The Framework?

Of course there is no single way to write a short story, and no single ‘correct’ form of what a short story should look like.

(They’re subversive little things, and that’s why I love them)

There is, however, a simple framework that will support a particular type of short story: a traditional, narrative short story with one protagonist and a couple of supporting characters.

It’s a solid scaffolding that allows you to focus on the aesthetics of the thing: the characters, the description, the theme…

We’re going to be working with this framework later this week so today’s task is:

Download The Short Story Framework

…and put it in your dedicated StoryADay workspace.

Then bring it out again, because I want you to read through the framework.

Don’t write anything yet (I mean, you can. I can’t stop you…) but instead think about stories you already know and how they fit into this framework.

(Good models are the Star Wars movies, and episodic TV that tells a single story each week)

The framework isn’t something I invented. It’s what I reverse-engineered from millennia of western storytelling (and other people’s attempts to deconstruct it).

It will serve you well, to get from “Idea” to “The end” this month, without taking too long to get into the real story; without wandering off into a messy middle that never wants to let you leave it; and without wondering if you’ve really reached ‘the end’.


make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

Here’s your next Bingo Piece. Download the pic, print it out and paste it onto your bingo sheet. Then share a picture of it on social media with #storyadaybingo

You don’t have to do all the tasks in order, so paste your tokens on the gameboard on whatever day you get to it!

Leave a comment:

  • Were you able to recognize the structure as you thought through stories you knew? Did it feel familiar and comfortable?
  • I mentioned a few common pitfalls that derail people’s short story efforts. (Taking too long to get to the real story; wandering around lost in the middle; not knowing how to end.) What’s your biggest enemy, when trying to write (and finish) a short story?
  • Bonus question: Do you tend to resist structure or love it? (Don’t worry if you don’t like outlining. That’s not what we’re going to be doing with this).

[Writing Prompt] – A Little Planning

I know, people feel really strongly about whether or not to outline, but today—whether you’re a planer or not– I’m going to encourage you to think of your writing session as a road trip.

Road trips are fun, but usually we have a destination in mind. When, in the middle, with whoever is in the backseat complaining, and the last of the sandwiches eaten, it helps to know the answer to the question “are we nearly there yet?”

Traditional, western narrative stories have a structure, and here is a model for that.

Using the framework to brainstorm your story will help you both get to the end and, just when you’re getting sick of the story, figure out if you are indeed ‘nearly there yet’.

Give it a try.

Photo by Tabea Damm on Unsplash

The Prompt

Download the Short Story Framework and brainstorm a story


  • Start writing as soon as you feel inspired
  • When you get stuck come back to the framework and brainstorm the next ‘leg’ of the journey
  • Watch this video lesson: on how to use this framework and write a story in 40 minute

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

2019 Day 1 – Labor Day

You’re here! We’re here! And StoryADay September is definitely here!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

The Prompt

Write a Story featuring workers for labor day

The StoryADay Superstars are seeing enhanced versions of these prompts all month, plus a year of monthly meetings and support.

Want a sneak peek?

You can still sign up for Superstars until midnight tonight!