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A Plan

All writers should use a plan whether written or reflected. This includes the initial idea, the content or main points, and the conclusion whether it is an article, a short story, a chapter, or a complete novel.

Let us look at the article. This starts with main idea that is engendered in the title. Then the content is considered: the main points that will make up the article. All that is left to do now is to fill in the details of each line of reasoning. Leave it for a few days before editing, revising, and rewriting. The article is done.

Similarly, the short story starts with the intent and then the character who has a desire or want that is stymied by some obstacle. As the character attempts to overcome the obstacle, more complications occur until defeat seems the only possibility, but defeat is turned into success or disaster, success if the short story is a comedy and disaster if it is a tragedy.

The chapter of a novel follows a similar plan, but it is not as complete as the short story, since the tale or narrative must go on. The chapter is like one event in the short story with its aspiration, its impediment, its complication, and its achievement or downfall.

Even the novel follows a similar development. Novels can emphasize plot or character but in either case, the protagonist meets an antagonist that can be another human, an belief, or nature that encumber and frustrated him or her. The effort to overcome increases the difficulty rather than alleviate it, resulting in further complexity until a solution is found or the protagonist is overwhelmed.

Basically, all writing follows a similar scheme. Thus, only the details are different for each composition, be it an article, a short story, a chapter, or a novel.

Charles O. Goulet has a BA in history and a BEd in English literature. He has written several historical novels that are available at,, Barnes and Noble, and many other bookstores.

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