40 Days of Worksheets – Day 34

ramonagravitarWorksheet #34 – Building a Short Story

A short story requires three things: a person, a place, and a problem.  Let’s build a short story from these three elements.

A person: Domenic is a late 30s husband and father who was laid of from his job six months ago. He has caught no breaks in finding work. Now, his mortgage is overdue, his wife is threatening to leave, and Domenic feels worthless.

A place: Interior of a bank. (See below for why.)

A problem: To solve his financial woes, Domenic has come up with a plan: he’ll rob a bank. It’s a stupid plan, but it’s still a plan.

In every story, no matter the size, CONFLICT is the necessary ingredient to drive action. What’s described above—Domenic’s plan to rob a bank—is not conflict. It describes a situation, the status quo at the opening of the story. Conflict and action happen when the plan goes wrong.

How can Domenic’s plan go wrong?

Option 1: He can go to the bank with his “give me the money” note and realizes he knows the teller or some other person there.

Option 2: He can get in line for a teller and a police officer gets in line behind him.

Option 3: He can give the note to the teller, who says “No” or “Make me” or some other comic/offbeat response.

Option 4: He can get into line and see a gun in the pocket of the man in front of him and realize that guy’s going to rob the bank first.

Option 5: He can have a change of heart but someone sees the (fake?)gun in his pocket and calls him out.

Every which way the plan goes wrong is a new direction for your story idea. Now it’s your turn.




Options how the plan goes wrong:


Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s