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Tim Sevenhuysen from 50 Word Stories.com talks about some classic story structures...

READERSVOICE.COM: I saw in your 50-word story Don’t Call Me Savior that you used a problem-interesting solution story structure. And in the story The Sound of Forgetting it finishes with a nice take on a situation. What are some other ways you’ve liked that people have created climaxes or endings in their 50-word stories?

TIM SEVENHUYSEN: I’m a big fan of stories that resolve enough of their conflict or concept to satisfy the reader’s need for plot advancement, but that leave openings for future possibilities or reader interpretations. A great example is the story I recently announced as the first-ever winner of the Story of the Year prize, The Mapmaker’s Calligraphist Daughter by Bob Thurber (fiftywordstories.com/2014/10/08/bob-thurber-themapmakers-calligraphist-daughter). There’s a ton of implied character building and world building in the story, but none of it is necessary to feel like the plot of the daughter and the suitors has been explained at its core.

Some other common structures for 50-word stories are simple punchlines, comedic twists and revelations, or lead-ups to dramatic or emotional moments.

RV: What do you like most about the 50-word structure?

TS: My favourite thing about really good 50-word stories is how much discussion and conversation they can generate, even just internally in the reader’s own mind. The best stories take far more time to interpret and digest than they do to read!

RV: What are some of your favourite books of all time, whether fiction or non-fiction, and what grabbed you about them? (especially any stuff people might not have heard of, but it doesn’t matter. The more the better.)
I actually have a relatively thorough list of my favourite novels on my blog! (timsevenhuysen.com/best-novels).

The five best novels I’ve ever read are Les Miserables, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, Gulliver’s Travels, and All Quiet on the Western Front. The deeper, meatier, and more thoughtful a book is, the better. Les Miserables’ historical essays are one of my favourite things about it, even though they’re something that would scare most readers away! The other four books on the list are packed with social and political commentary, though they convey it in very different ways.

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– copyright Simon Sandall.