Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Go Ahead — Write This Story: Lists

We love lists. That's the secret of success for the Cracked website. You can tell stories with lists, too.

1. You need a clear plot with rising tension, like any other story.

2. The items need not be numbered, but they must clearly be a list.

3. You must have enough items to tell a satisfying story, and each item on the list must be strong, not a filler to get enough items. Items can be lengthy or brief. With the right tweaks, the result can be a short-short story, a novel, or anything in between.

4. The ending should re-emphasize the story, such as a list of things in a suitcase that become more frightening and the final one is a killer. Or a list of reasons to get married, and the last one or two show that the marriage would be a disaster or unbridled joy. Or a list of imaginary holidays that become significantly specific or broad at the end.

If you need an idea for a story, here are a few:

• This is a story of love and possible betrayal about a woman who planned her husband’s funeral for years, each year with a different cause of death and a different ghost.

• This is an autobiographical story about a space traveler remembering the best and/or worst planets he/she/it had ever visited.

• This is a detective story in which the clues add up to solve the mystery of the missing moon.

— Sue Burke

For an expanded version, visit

Tags: writing ideas

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