Brave Writer

Writing the Short Story guides students through the writing process of crafting a fiction story of 1,200 words or less. Students move through the process of idea generation, freewriting, revision, and editing to produce a piece they can share with a wider audience.  

The demands of a short story—quick story development, concision, sufficient vivid detail, compelling conclusion—are unique to this genre of writing and will provide focus for study. Students hone their revision skills in particular as they lower their word count to meet the imposed maximum, a real-world skill many writers face when publishing writing in magazines or newspaper articles. 


Week One

Freewriting. Class begins with freewriting prompts that connect to character and explore a fictional world using the senses. The generative writing this week provides the initial spark towards a complete short story. 

Week Two

Expansion. Using myth, fairy tale, epigraphs, songs, and/or works of art, this week’s exercises help students add dimension to their blossoming stories. 

Week Three

Shape. Students look for the spine of the story this week. Writers explore character motivation, inherent story tension, and potential moments of surprise. 

Week Four

Ending. Students find an ending and work backward, revising with the goal of bringing forth the narrative elements that support the forward motion of the story. 

Week Five

Revisit and Revise. With a sense of the central idea that emerged in the previous weeks, students engage in revision to strengthen the writing. Writers emerge with a powerful short story ready to share or publish!

Common Core and Academic Standards Support

What follows is a word bank and set of skills associated with this class. Use them to craft your own learning narrative for use in year-end evaluations, charter school reports, or any other accountability source.

Word Bank

  • Analysis
  • Character development
  • Editing
  • Opening hook
  • Plot
  • Revision
  • Sequencing
  • Setting
  • Story arc
  • Surprise
  • Theme
  • Vivid detail
  • Writing craft

Core Skills

  • Analyze structure of short story text
  • Craft an opening hook that compels the reader
  • Craft an ending that surprises and resolves
  • Craft original writing from an established story
  • Determine central ideas and themes
  • Edit for standard English conventions and word limits
  • Identify moral or lesson
  • Identify patterns in short story text
  • Revise writing for clarity, flow, order, interest, and economy of language
  • Study narrative arc: action, background, development, climax, resolution
  • Utilize vivid detail in description
  • Write detailed, organized, structured original narratives