At this point I have an idea, a character, an archetype, at least thought about the ending twist, reviewed some humor approaches, wrote a first paragraph, and layered in the try fail cycles. I had a week to get a first draft and the week was almost gone. At this point I had a day left.
- Short Story: Finding the perfect title
My first draft was ugly. I needed a checklist to help make sure I was on the right track. There were probably a hundred different lists out there. Most were geared to novels. In the end this was the list I used.
- Did I start with a hook?
- Do I know who the main POV is and where they are located?
- Do I know anything about the POV’s attitude or their code?
- Do I know anything about the rules of the world they live in?
- What does the POV want? Why?
- Does the POV get what they want right away?
- Is there a ticking clock?
- Do the stakes keep getting raised?
- Can the POV walk away from what is stacked against them?
- Does the ending satisfy what you set-up in the beginning?
- Is there a twist at the end?
Once I was happy with the structure, then I read it out loud. I listened for long and awkward sentences and unintentional alliterations. Was there a stronger word? Could I backload my sentences putting the strongest word at the end? Could I do anything punny to add to the humor?
Luckily I had a buddy in the class with me. So Once my eyes started crossing on my own, we swapped crits.
What else would you add to the checklist?