• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Short Stories

Page history last edited by msward 11 years, 6 months ago






SHORT STORIES: Introduction to our project 

Welcome to our short story unit!  Over the next week we will be reading a variety of short stories from all sorts of genres – contemporary, historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy in order to discuss what makes a good short story.  Through our reading we will discover how authors structure their stories, use literary elements, and how they describe the characters and action of a story.  We will use this knowledge to create our own short stories.


Our short story project will revolve around the creation of a theme.  As we begin to write our stories, it will be important to think about what message we would like to impart to our readers.  We will spend some time uncovering themes in our own writing. 


Above all, we will be creative!  Your story can be set in the past, present, or even in the future.  You will need to decide the following things:

  • Who is (are) your main character(s)?
  • Where does the action of your story take place?
  • What time period does the action of your story happen in?
  • From what point of view will you tell your story?
  • What theme or message would you like readers to take away from your story?


We will create our short stories by utilizing a number of brainstorming and pre-writing techniques. Our process for creating short stories follows:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Pre-Writing Activities
  3. Outline
  4. Rough Draft
  5. Peer writing workshops
  6. Revision
  7. Final Paper
  8. Revise to Publishable Quality
  9. Publish a Classroom Short Story Book
  10. Potentially submit for publication


You will need to think about including the following elements in your short story:

  1. Exposition material – the background and introductory information that a reader needs in order to understand your story
  2. Description – what kind of vivid language will you use to describe your characters and setting?
  3.  Setting and Mood
  4. Characterization – how will we learn about your characters?
  5.  Rising Action
  6. Conflict
  7. Complications and Suspense – how will you keep your readers hooked?
  8. Climax – what is the highest point of tension in your story?
  9. Falling Action – how does your climax turn out?
  10. Dénouement – wrap up all your loose ends? 


Final Copy Requirements:

1)    Typed, double spaced with 1 inch margins

2)    Includes a title (centered at the top of the page)

3)    Underneath the title:                   By: Your Name

Haverford High School

Creative Writing, Ms. Ward


4)    No more than 2500 words (about 7 pages in length)

5)    Must have a theme





10 points


8 points


6 points


4 points


A single controlling point or theme is evident with an awareness of the format of the mode of writing.  A distinct and controlling idea/theme drives the piece of writing.

Apparent point made about a single topic or theme with sufficient awareness of mode of writing.

No coherent point or theme to piece but evidence of a specific topic.

Minimal evidence of a topic.


The presence of ideas developed through deliberately chosen diction and vivid descriptions.  Substantial, specific and illustrative content demonstrating strong development of vivid imagery and sophisticated ideas.  The piece is full of concrete imagery.

Sufficiently developed content with adequate elaboration or explanation.

Limited content with inadequate elaboration or explanation.

Superficial and/or minimal content.


Sophisticated arrangement of content. The format of the story is consistent and adds to the content of the narrative.  Regardless of the format of the piece, it is obvious that the student thought about how to organize ideas.

Functional arrangement of content that sustains a logical order with some evidence of transitions.

Confused or inconsistent arrangement of content without attempts at transitions.

Minimal control of content arrangement.


The student creates a clear and unique voice through precise, illustrative use of a variety of words and sentence structures.  The writer's voice and tone appropriate to audience.

Generic/cliché use of a variety of words and sentence structures that may or may not create writer's voice and tone appropriate to audience.

Limited word choice and control of sentence structures that inhibit voice and tone.

Minimal variety in word choice and minimal control of sentence structures.


Evident control of grammar, mechanics, spelling, usage and sentence formation.

Sufficient control of grammar, mechanics, spelling, usage, and sentence formation.

Limited control of grammar, mechanics, spelling, usage, and sentence formation.

Minimal control of grammar, mechanics, spelling, usage, and sentence formation.



by Dewey Hensley



As Kevin moved down the street his feet made a steady echo sound against the pavement. He whistled despite the loud rumble of the traffic and the car horns. When someone yelled out the window of his or her car to watch where he was going, he just waved back like he was watching a best friend heading home. He passed by the garbage on the sidewalk and the old woman pushing the shopping cart filled with newspaper, and continued to smile as he headed toward Cindy’s house. Nothing could erase that smile from his face, not even the coldness of the streets he called home.



“I ain’t gonna leave you here, Ma’am . . . not with you needin’ help and all,” Jimmy said as he walked back to his truck to get the jack. “I’d help anybody who needed it; my momma taught me better’en to just leave people. The good Lord’ll make it up to me.”

“I don’t know . . .,” Linda stuttered. She had barely rolled down her window to hear Jimmy when he had left his pick-up truck and offered help. “You know what they say about your kind . . .”


Physical Description

Other guys walking through the hallway were taller and even more handsome, but there was something about Billy Belaire. His arms swung loose at his side and his dark hair was long and pulled back behind his head, held by a rubber band. The dark jacket he wore was straight out of the local thrift shop, she could tell, but the way he wore it suggested a sense of pride, or at least a lack of caring what others thought about him.



Junior tapped his fingertips against the table and looked at his watch constantly. His leg bounced up and down and he gulped the hot coffee as if it would hurry up his friend’s arrival.



Michael touched the locket around his neck and rolled it between his fingers. His mother had given him that locket, with her picture inside, when he had left to live with his father. What would she think of him now?



Tony’s words stung Laura. It wasn’t what she expected to hear. They had been dating for over a month now, how could he do this to her? How could he break her heart? All three of their dates had been fun; he had said so himself.

As Tony watched the floodgate of her eyes begin to open he looked at his watch. Jeez, I hope I can make it to the gym on time.



He began to remember when he was a freshman in high school. The seniors really thought they were something back then, always trying to play their little pranks on the ninth graders. He knew at that moment he couldn’t be one of those kinds of people. He walked over to Jeff and Larry to tell them it was time to stop.


Background Information

Miles knew what it meant to be alone. When he was a child growing up his father had been in the military. They had traveled from Florida, to Georgia, to California, to Kentucky. He had rarely had a friend for very long. By the leap from California he had already decided having friends was a risk; the fewer the friends, the easier it was to leave. This philosophy had made him a real outsider at Glenview High School. In the six months he had been there he had not really made a single friend but as he stood there staring at Sheila, he realized that just might have to change.


“Dipping a Character in Paint”  Four Notebook Entries to Get a Writer Started


The best fiction centers around realistic, multi-dimensional characters (traditionally called round or dynamic characters). Most writers rely upon their own knowledge and observations of people to create real characters for their fiction. These four types of notebook entries can provide writers the raw materials to build a character.


Entry 1:        Who is the most peculiar, colorful, or unique person you know? Describe this person in detail without using a name; try to capture all the little things the person does, says, believes that makes him or her different. Also tell how the person looks, what he or she wears, and even how others think about the person.


Entry 2:        Take 10 minutes to observe someone outside this classroom. Then, in your writer’s notebook, write down every detail you can about this person. Draw a portrait of the person in words. How does this person look? What are his or her idiosyncracies? (If you don’t see any very clearly, predict what they might be.) What is the person’s history? If you don’t know anything about the person, then create a history. What does the person smell like? Can you come up with a simile or metaphor about this person?


Entry 3:        Now that you've observed someone else, think about your own “idiosyncracies”?  Idiosyncracies are little mannerisms (things we do unconsciously) that make us the way we are. Hensley puts his fingers together like a spider doing push-ups on a mirror; Mrs. Anderson hums softly while walking around the room and runs her fingers through her hair whenever Hensley says something stupid. What are some of your idiosyncracies? Be specific; take time to reflect upon yourself.


Entry 4:        Extended entry . . . Take time to use the observation entries you have already done:

the class discussions and stories we have done in class; and your own observations to create a character. Remember, you can draw on your previous entries to create this character. Provide this “person” with a . . .

• Name

• Physical description

• List of objects that tell about him or her

• List of idiosyncracies he or she exhibits when certain things happen (when   

   he or she is sad, scared, challenged, etc.)

• History: where has this person been; what things have happened that really

   make this person who he or she is




Created by Dewey Hensley, South Oldham High School


BRAINSTORMING TOOLS: Brainstorming the Conflict




































BRAINSTORMING TOOLS : Developing the Plot


Use the following questions to help develop the plot of your story.  

  1. Does the main character have one or more identifiable traits?
  2. Is the conflict something that most readers can identify with?
  3. Does the main character attempt at least three different actions in an endeavor to solve the conflict?  
  4. Is the conflict resolved through the main character’s self-reliance?
  5. Overall, does the plot have “turnability” potential? Will the reader be drawn in by the plot and want to turn each page to find out what happens next?
  6. Will the reader care about what happens to the main character? 






Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.