Project Overview

Stories, both short and long, communicate the fundamental truths of human existence. For thousands of years, humans have used stories to entertain, to teach, and to communicate. Before the invention of the written word, stories were passed down orally. Today, stories are told through plays, movies, television shows, novels, and short stories published in anthologies, magazines, or to the internet. Your summative assessment for the short story unit will be to write a short story about a complex character who is facing some sort of conflict.

Project Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Apply their understanding of literary devices to write an engaging short story.
  • Develop flawed yet relatable characters through indirect characterization.
  • Apply basic plot structure to sequence events so they build on each other and create suspense.
  • Use imagery to show the reader the story rather than tell the reader the story.

Common Core Standards

W.9-10.3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

W.9-10.3.A – Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

W.9-10.3.B – Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

W.9-10.3.C – Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

W.9-10.3.D – Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

W.9-10.3.E – Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

L.9-10.1 – Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.9-10.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Project Requirements

To earn full points on this project, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Short Story Planning Guide – Click on the link and copy the document to your drive. Then, rename it so it is titled LAST NAME, FIRST NAME Short Story Planning Guide. After you have renamed your document, share it with me at
  2. Dialogue Video Notes – Watch the video on how to write and format dialogue in narrative writing. Then, think about how dialogue will help to move your story forward and to make the reader feel as if they are living your story rather than reading it.
  3. Write the story! There comes a point in the writing process where you must simply write. If your story has strong plot structure, adequate details, and character dialogue, it should be between two and three pages in length using the standard font on GoogleDocs.
    • Your story must use the literary elements we’ve discussed in class. Be prepared to answer questions about how your story uses/communicates the following:
      • Tone
      • Theme
      • Indirect Characterization
      • Plot Structure
      • Internal Conflict
      • External Conflict
      • Foreshadowing
      • Irony (situational, verbal, or dramatic)
  4. Revision – before you can submit your story for grading, you must have three of your classmates peer review your story. To peer review a story, you will use GoogleDocs’ comment feature to provide feedback on character development, plot holes, formatting issues, or places of the story where the author tells the reader what is happening rather than showing the reader what is happening.

Presentation and Due Dates

The short stories are due on Monday, November 14th. On Wednesday and Thursday of that week, you will have the opportunity to read your short story to the class for additional credit.