Tell a story in 150 words.
Writing on the Medium Platform Series
What is short form on Medium?
Short form is 150 words or less in the entire post. It is a new thing. I am experimenting with short form fiction. This is what Medium say short form is for their criteria.
How do you write short form?
In short form you have 150 words to tell your story, including the words in your photo arbitration. Frame your tale in story format with a beginning, middle, and end. Take your reader on a journey, or make them curious, or intrigue them. The challenge is doing that with only a few words.
Story has a flow, a pace, and rhythm. Use that in the short form while conveying that small amount of information. Focus on the main point, or emotion, or reaction you are trying to conjure with your words.
What tells Medium this is short form?
The entire first sentence is in bold and stands in for your title. The bold letters should be in sentence case. This tells Medium that yours is a short form story.
You want that first sentence to intrigue, catch the interest of your reader, pull them into the short form. Does your hook fit your story and make it better? Is there a keyword you can include in that sentence that makes good SEO? Only use if the keyword makes that sentence better.
Can you include a CTA?
Your CTA (call to action) is also part of that total 150-word allotment. So if you do a hyperlink, the words count in the total. Don’t make your CTA obvious or identified as a promo. Make it connect/relate to the story or point you are making in your short form. It goes at the end of the piece.
Keep storytelling craft in mind.
- Beginning = With a hook
- Middle = Conflict, obstacle, or maybe a catchy point or twist that reflects or hints at the conflict or elicits emotion from the reader.
- End = Resolution. It should please, satisfy, surprise, intrigue, be twisty, or make your reader want to learn more and click on the connected subtle CTA at the end.
When deciding how to tell your story in a few words, think about your character’s flaw and the deep need that motivates them that stems from this flaw.
What to think about.
What is the lie your character believes? Keep it simple. What if they believe they are unlovable, so act out in various ways? Maybe they have a deep feeling of abandonment, so have trouble trusting. A positive trait taken to the extreme can turn into a negative and be a flaw.
A place to start.
Start in the middle of the action or right after the dark night of the soul.
Examples of short form.
Katie Michaelson, the owner of The Daily Cuppa took one of my stories and showcased it. That is when I understood what can work for short form fiction. This is a perfect example of something you can do.
Katie’s shout-out. Short form.
I just read a bunch of stories by Juneta Key.I’ve wanted to learn to sculpt fiction stories for The Daily Cuppa. When reading NUMBER 99, I got excited all over…medium.com
The original flash fiction story.
NUMBER 99A Flash Fictionmedium.com
What tiny moment can you tweak and dramatize to elicit an emotional response from your reader in a single moment of time where something significant happens?
Short form fiction: A piece I created for short form fiction to introduce a character with story tease.
Do You Believe In Magic? — Smoak is Magic.I am a Fae spirit entity. My element is fire. My name is Smoak. I’ve been mistaken for an angel. As a spirit entity, I…medium.com
Other things you can manipulate
Your story flow, pace, and rhythm, playing with tone and atmosphere. Every story has a sound when you read it out loud to yourself or use a free online text to speech reader, let the app read it for you. What emotion does the sound trigger? Is it catchy in rhythm and sound?
Look at your word choice. Choose strong nouns and verbs. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly, but when you pick them, pick strong ones that promote an emotion, or action, or immediate word image.
All these words are going to your word count, so make them do the work for the story to make it memorable.
Take your reader on a miniature-micro adventure even if it is only emotional. Make every word, space, and nuisance of the story count to make your 150 words grab your readers’ attention and keep them reading and wanting more.
- Make Your Words Count.
- All story has a beginning with a hook — grab your reader!
- The first line works as your title and is bold letters in sentence case, which indicates short form.
- Stay aware of your structure: Beginning, Middle, End.
- Watch your flow: Rising action to the middle, and falling action to the end.
- Dig deep into the character: Internal and External obstacles and angst.
- Play on the positive trait to extreme and/or act out of the negative traits.
- CTA should relate to the story and not be obvious.
- Start in the action sequence near the end or after the dark night of the soul.
- You only have 150 words to use counting your photo arbitration word count in your total words for your story piece.
Brief Bio: Juneta is a speculative fiction writer. She writes Sci-fi fantasy, space opera, fantasy-adventure, paranormal fantasy while playing with the complexity of human nature with elements of mystery and romance. She wears a lot of hats as a story development coach, a Ninja Writer Team member, and published author. Learn more about Juneta here.
This article also on published Medium.