Writing & Publishing a Short Story

My Process & an Interview with Author, Michael Buckley

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman

Outlining Your Plot

1. Your Story's Goal
  • What do you want to achieve? What's the protagonist's main goal? What's the story about?
  • This is where you plot out how you want your story to go. Figure out the basics here.


2. Problems/Obstacles

  • What obstacles will the protagonist face throughout the story? What will happen if they don't meet their goal? What are they afraid of?
  • This will be the middle or your story and the "adventure" part of your book.


3. Requirements

  • What has to be accomplished in order to meet their goal? What events happen?
  • Same as Problems/Obstacles.


4. ForeWarnings

  • What will stop them from succeeding or getting closer?
  • Ties into Requirements. Consequences of the protagonist getting closer to their goal. Makes the reader anxious about whether the character will succeed or not.


5. Costs

  • Does the character care about something? Is it worth the cost of losing it? Are they willing to make the sacrifice?
  • Something that's lost along the way. Someone dies, gets sick, etc.


6. Balance

  • Reunited with an old friend or family member? Does a characters come back to life? Are they given a gift that saves their life? Etc.
  • Opposite of Costs. Rewards that the protagonist gets or good things that happen throughout the story and their journey.


7. Ending

  • Does someone die? Does the goal get accomplished? Does it end on a cliffhanger or a "Happy Ever After"? Does it end here or continue into a series?
  • This is the end of your story and it's how you wrap up all of your ideas, plot, and characters.

Coming Up With Characters

1. Outline your characters

  • Start out with the amount of characters you want. Don't put any character in a certain category of protagonist or antagonist yet. First, draw out your characters in your mind. What do they look like? What do they act like? What do they like? What do they dislike? What kind of character are they? Sarcastic? Evil? Optimistic? Depressed?


2. Figure out roles

  • Now that you've created your characters you need to assign them roles in your story. Which is the protagonist? Which is the antagonist? Which are supporting characters? Are certain characters more important than others?


3. Compare Personalities to Plot

  • Think about how your character who react to certain places in your plot. How would the protagonist react if their best friend died or if they saved someone's life? How would the antagonist act?

Writing Tips

1. Actually be interested in your writing.


2. Make a plan/goal and follow through.


3. Don't edit until you're done writing your chapter or section.


4. Develop your our writing style, even if it means breaking every English rule you know.


5. Use descriptive words but don't be afraid to keep it simple.

Tips To Get Over Writer's Block

1. Do things to spark ideas.
  • Ever over think things in the shower or before bed? Try thinking about your story and see if your thoughts wander.
  • Go for a run or walk (or if you hate moving in general, just go outside and lay on the ground). Going outside could help clear your head.


2. Try writing something else.

  • Changing gears could help you get your inspiration back and stop your writer's block.
  • Look up some writing prompts online if you don't have any other projects to work on.


3. Try finding inspiration anywhere and everywhere.

  • Listen to music that reminds you of a certain character or scene you're writing.
  • Watch a movie or TV show to see if anything inspires you.
  • Go out into public (a cafe, the mall, where ever you want) and watch people. Do it. Go be a stalker. Watching people's actions is actually really helpful and help you create characters or understand yours better.
  • Look at pictures or quotes online that remind you of your story/characters to try and get some ideas.

Interview with Michael Buckley

How did it feel when you first got published? What were some of experiences you had while being published? What processes did you go through?


How do you get over our writer's block? Do you do certain things to get over it?


How do you prevent from getting writer's block?


How do you write really descriptive scenes?


How do you plan a plot and pursue it?


Where do you get your inspiration for characters, story ideas, settings, etc?


What's the best method you've found for developing character's friendship/relationships?


What's a good way that you've found to begin a story?