It would be interesting to read stories written using the following form. It was created by a noted writer, Paul Dean Anderson.
This is a paraphrase of an informal lecture given by Paul Dean Anderson at the January 1993 meeting of the Rockford Writer's Guild in Rockford, Illinois. Mr. Anderson is a well known writer and co-editor of "2 AM Magazine". This magazine is published in Rockford and focuses on Science Fiction, Fantasy and poetry of the horror genre.
Mr. Anderson preaches having interior problems for your lead characters vice external problems.
FIRST PARAGRAPH: Give your character a THREAT that everyone can identify with. It can be a life threat or a spiritual threat. SECOND PARAGRAPH: Develop the character and show the character's reaction to the threat. This shows a LOT about the character. THIRD PARAGRAPH: Throw in a prop. i.e. "the gun on the mantle", the stuff that the character is wearing or has in his/her pocket, a vehicle, suitcase, etc. FOURTH PARAGRAPH: The second paragraph action did not overcome the threat. The character "feels down, wants to give up and end it all". FIFTH PARAGRAPH: The threat becomes more specific to the character or to someone the character cares about. This is the "do or die moment". The character now refuses to "take it anymore". SIXTH PARAGRAPH: The character acts intuitively and in character but fails to overcome the obstacle. He doesn't save the world (as it were). SEVENTH PARAGRAPH: Character realizes that he must make a conscious change to solve the problem. The character MUST grow and change to face his challenge. The Character MUST make an out-of-character decision. i.e. The selfish must do a selfless act, the claustrophobe must go into a cave or sewer, the person scared of arguments must confront an obnoxious verbal bully. EIGHTH PARAGRAPH: The character must take the out-of-character decision and combine it with the prop (see THIRD PARAGRAPH) to produce action in the resolution.
Mr. Anderson challenged the Rockford Writer's Guild to write 500 word stories that would embody this ad-hoc outline above. He later stated that perhaps as much as 2000 words he later stated. Mr. Anderson hinted that these "rules" were somewhat ad-hoc but they flowed forth from him so easily that I had the feeling that they were something he had thought about for a long time!