[Writing Prompt] 40 Minute Story

A video lesson on how to write a short story in 40 minutes or thereabouts.

The Prompt

Set a timer for 40 minutes and to write a story in that time.

Tips

The first 10 minutes

Spend 10 minutes thinking about your story at the beginning, thinking about who your character is thinking about a desire, a problem, something you want to write about.

Go into your Story Sparks a list of ideas, of things that interest you, things that irritate you, things that drive you crazy.

Think about stories you love. Come up with a story from, from your pool of ideas. Just spend 10 minutes jotting down ideas. Thinking about characters, thinking about where the story might go, maybe run through the Short Story Framework exercise,

In that first 10 minutes as well, maybe set a timer for seven minutes and spend the last three minutes of that fleshing out your opening.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It won’t be perfect, but you know where’s the story going to start.

The Middle

Then spend 20 minutes in the middle complicating your character’s life. Don’t waste time telling us backstory. You can have it in your head, but start the story where something’s about to happen to this character.

Spend 20 minutes complicating life for them introducing their best friend or their boyfriend or the problem. Allow them to come to an understanding, or change a thing, or start to tackle the problem that they’re going to have to solve in his story.

5-Minute Review

At the end of that 20 minutes, you’ve got about 10 minutes left.

So, at that point, I’m going to recommend that you review the story, and then make some notes about what you might change, make some notes of what you think the opening might be.

The Last 5 Minutes

Spend the last five minutes or so, putting an ending on the story. Even if you haven’t resolved the main story, put an ending on the story because in your head, you know where the story is going by this point.

So put an ending on the story and then, you know, put it away. Don’t worry about it. That’s your 40 minute story, wrap it up, put it away. See what happens.

Happy writing!


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 and let us know what you wrote about and how it went

One thought on “[Writing Prompt] 40 Minute Story”

  1. The story I put on my blog Synchrotech is about a man working in cryonics who hears one of his clients cry out for help. Should he release this person from her -238 degree cell to enjoy an hour of her life? There is some back story, but the decision is made. I have my blog address attached. It will also be one of the twenty stories I have included in a collection entitled, “Road to Niflihiem.”

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