I use a program called Scrivener to write my fiction. I also use it for my blogs. I write the blogs in Scrivener and copy them to the blog site. That way I have a record of what I post here. I even have a Scrivener file where I can put the short stories that I have posted here on the blog, so those pieces are in two different Scrivener files. Scrivener is idea for that because I have a single place where I can put my notes for each piece that I write. The short story blog has folders for each short story and I can put notes there before I write the story.
I’m working on one that will be posted in October that I’m trying something new. I have a beat sheet in Excel that gives me word counts and pages that I use when I write my novels. I’m going to use it to write that short story that I will post in October. It’s an experiment to see how well it controls short fiction. I think it will do well. The beat sheet is the bare bones of an outline and it gives me a rough estimate of how long each section of story should be. For instance, for my five-hundred-word story, I need to have one hundred twenty-five words in Act one. I need two hundred fifty words for Act two and another one hundred twenty-five words in Act three.
The beat sheet is further divided. Act one is divided into the “Inciting Incident” and the “end of the beginning”. In this case, the first hundred words will be devoted to the Inciting Incident. The other twenty-five will be the end of the beginning. Act two is divided into pinch point one, midpoint, pinch point two and crisis. Pinch point one should have sixty-three in it. the midpoint should have around sixty-two words. Pinch point two and the crisis should each have sixty-three words as well. Now we are on to act three, which is divided between the climax and the resolution. The climax should have one hundred twenty-one words and the resolution five words. That’s where this version of the beat sheet fails a bit. The resolution needs to be a little bit longer than just five words, although I think I can do it.
As you can see, there’s a fair amount of analysis in writing a piece of fiction. Now, I don’t usually do this with short pieces – use a beat sheet, that is, but this is an experiment. I might have to adjust the length of the piece to write it properly, but my goal is to write a short ghost story of around five hundred words. We’ll see how it turns out.