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Short Story Self Conference


In your journal follow the instructions below.  You may or may not use this information directly in your story, but it’s important to clarify the background information for yourself as the author.  You may not know all this information; if not, make up details that would best fit your story.


Describe each main character in a paragraph.  Give them a first and last name, age, physical description, clothing, distinguishing habits and ideas even if you don’t mention those details in the story.  Give each a hook like glasses, Bulls’ cap, lisp or sneezing allergy that fits the character

Describe the minor characters in a sentence.  The minor characters are usually stereotypes (the bus driver, the neighbor, etc.) because you don’t want them to stand out too much, but you might give each of them one characteristic that makes them rounder.

Describe each scene.  Place the story in time (hour, day, year) as well as place.  Time or a limited time can often be an element that gives the story tension.

What is the Major Dramatic Question?  Where do you make it clear in the beginning of the story?  How well do the complications relate to the MDQ?

Describe the point of view.  Mention which person and from what perspective in time.

Describe the conflict.  What is the main character’s problem or need and what is in the way of it?

Describe the two or three complications. Are they in the most effective order to create rising action?

How satisfying is your conclusion?  Does it answer the MDQ?  Does it fit the character and story?  Does it contain some surprise without being illogical?