For a short story idea to work it should be firmly grounded in short story form, which is the setup, the buildup and the payoff. This form has not changed for thousands of years. Why does this form work?
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The short story is a very old art form. Not only is it found in the holy books of all religions but it is also found on the walls of caves in pictographs. The short story is older than writing. Now that’s saying something. Why does the short story have this hold on the human imagination?
Well, I have a theory of why the short story has such a powerful hold on the human imagination; see if you agree.
The human mind cannot stand a mystery, something it cannot explain. You want an example of this? All right. What happens after death? No one really “knows”; but probably one of the reasons that all religions exist is that they provide an answer to this question that cannot be rationally answered. The short story taps into our need to know how a story ends.
The short story tells the personal story of a protagonist. The story follows a natural progression: beginning, middle and end; or for our purposes: setup, buildup and payoff. It’s just like our lives: birth, life and death. This is not an arbitrary connection among religion, life and the form of the short story.
Now getting back to writing short stories. (And by the way, articles follow this same form. It’s just called by different names: argument, supporting proof and conclusion). When you are trying to come up with a good short story idea for say your blog or your Triond content keep in mind that the short story has a classic form and it has this form for a good reason.
The form is the setup, the buildup and the payoff.
My blog is the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette