My Short Story
Commit to finishing a short story
Writing tip: Set a timer for 5 minutes and write without stopping. No editing, no judging.
On the left, add writing milestones you want to achieve on your way to finishing your project. Pro tip: Think about when you want to finish this writing project and the 3-4 big things you want to accomplish between now and then.
If you're not ready to complete this task...
Think: Before I do __, I'd like to _____.
Break down your first milestone into smaller, more actionable tasks. Pro tip: You're more likely to make progress if your tasks take an hour or less to finish.
Pick a topic for a short story
You can explore your timeline by toggling back and forth between your timeline view of milestones to the milestone view which contain tasks for each milestone.
Review my timeline by clicking on 'My Timeline' above the title of this milestone
This is a writing area for notes, research and outlines.
Add a task below to add any other relevant tasks and milestones in this timeline. Customize away!
Click on the expansion arrow below this task to see a writing space under this task
Set the timer above to 10 minutes and free-write your ideas in this space.
Tip: Pull from your life, your dreams, your ideas about how the world should be or your observations about everyday life.
Free-write your ideas here...
Brainstorm story ideas
Choose the idea you found most interesting from your brainstorm above, and write it below.
Tip 1: Keep the other ideas as tasks/separate projects (or refer to them here) for future writing ideas!
Tip 2: A typical short story is 3000 - 6000 words.
Write down the idea your short story is about here...
Pick a short story topic
A good method would be to work backwards from when you want to finish your short story or submit it to a contest or publication. We'll remind you about upcoming milestones via email.
Make sure you try to keep them realistic!
However, you can always shift your dates later with our handy 'Catch me up' feature that will pop up if you ever pass the date on a milestone without completing it.
Add dates to each milestone in this timeline
Rough outline done
Time to daydream about your topic. Imagine the different ways the story might go and free-write your thoughts below.
Tip: Set a timer for 10 minutes to get your creative juices flowing!
Write your ideas here...
Brainstorm the plot or arc of the story I want to tell
The big tip here is to figure out a rough arc of the beginning, middle and end of your short story.
It's okay to want to start writing right away, but you improve the likelihood of finishing this short story if you figure out how you want to end it ahead of time.
Write the beginning here...
Write the middle here...
Write the climax here...
Write the ending here...
Figure out a rough outline
Who are your characters? Your protagonist(s)?
Develop character arcs (how each character grows, or changes through the story) for each one in this space.
Character 1 Arc
Write how character 1 grows/changes here...
Character 2 Arc
Write how character 2 grows/changes here...
Do you have to do any research for this story?
If so, list out what you need to research below. Add each item as separate tasks below, or as milestone in your timeline, if necessary.
You don't have to do all your research before you start writing. But being aware of what research you need will help you stay focused and organized!
Write out the research you have / need to do here...
Do my research
500 words written
The word count milestones in this smart project timeline are just examples. Feel free to adjust them to the word counts that are important to you.
Some people like to write their story all in one sitting! And others like to break out their writing into chunks. The important thing is to make time for your writing.
Edit word count milestones
Tip: Test your opening sentence or paragraph out on friends!
Write out any edits / new hooks you're thinking of here...
Does your beginning have an engaging hook to the rest of your story?
1000 words written
Tip: If you find yourself pausing or blocked, rereading what you've already written is a great way to find your words again.
Reread my written work so far
2500 words written
Tip: As you're rereading, note or highlight areas that require work or editing.
Then, use this space to write down actions or tasks required based on your review. Turn those items into new checklist task items below.
Write your notes here...
Reread my work so far
Rough draft done
What are things you like to do?
List out your simple pleasures below and get excited for rewarding yourself for writing.
(Remember to refer to this list as you move forward. It's always good to take care of yourself while you move forward on your writing journey. :)
Things I'd love to do after this short story is finished:
1. Write something you like to do here...
2. Write another thing you like to do here...
Take a break and celebrate having gotten this far!
Do a quick pass at rereading your draft. Take notes.
What are fixes or gaps you see? Add them all as separate tasks. Or write them below.
Write your notes here...
Reread my draft once again
Tip: Read your story out loud to identify any errors or awkward syntax.
Proofread my work
Send out for feedback
Tip: Try to find at least 1-2 people who are in your target audience.
Write down the people you'd like to ask for feedback from here...
Add the act of sending/asking them for feedback as separate tasks that you can check off below.
List out folks to send my story for feedback
Tip: Help those who are helping you by being specific about the feedback you're looking for.
Types of feedback you may want to look for:
- character voice
Write down the feedback points you're looking for here...
Make a list of questions or points of feedback that I'm specifically looking for
Final revisions to my short story
Decide what feedback you'd like to incorporate. Add them as a list below, or as separate tasks.
Write your notes here...
Make sure you've really made time for your second, third or tenth draft.
Don't be afraid to send it out for feedback again!
Do a final pass of my draft
Finish my short story
Use this space for a final checklist of your remaining work.
Anything else you'd like to get done before moving on to your next writing masterpiece?
Do I need to send it around for more feedback?
Make sure you use the export button in the toolbar (or copy paste) to get your work to MS Word or another robust editor for formatting if you plan to publish it.
Do I need to consider for formatting?
Submit my short story for publication
Add each one as a task or a separate milestone.
Make sure you copy paste in submission criteria!
Research and make a list of publications and/or contests