[Write on Wednesday] Lists As Stories

This month I’m pushing us to write short stories in odd forms, lists, conversations, letters, all kinds of things.

Short stories can be told in narrative form, like mini-novels, but they don’t have to be. Part of the fun of being a short story writer is the ability to twist people’s brains, surprise them, make the familiar unfamiliar. You can do that with your images, but you can also do it with a story’s form.

The Prompt

Write A Story In The Form Of A List

Tips

  • You could write
    • a ‘to do’ list,
    • a list of grievances addressed to your character’s boss/children/spouse;
    • a shopping list;
    • a McSweeney’s style list;
    • a list of steps you are advising someone to take,
    • any other type of list you like.
  • The title is hugely important. You might need to write it last. It should perhaps have a double meaning: it might mean one thing to the reader before they read the story and yet peel away a layer once the story is in their brains.
  • Don’t be afraid to let the reader work. Leave things out. Imply much, explain little.
  • Don’t feel the need to wrap this up neatly. Jennifer Egan doesn’t.
  • The twist in this kind of tale comes because the form betrays the meaning: a list is a utilitarian, ephemeral thing, but the content tells the reader there’s more going on in the list-writer’s life…

Go!

WRITE A SHORT STORY TODAY!

Short story framework cropped trans

Download the free StoryADay Short Story Framework and:

  • Draft a short story today: no more stalling
  • Discover the story-telling secret in finishing your stories
  • Make today Day One of the rest of your writing life

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