Short Story Writing Formulas

The Lester Dent Master Formula for Pulp Fiction Writing– Meant for short stories/novellas, but still a useful guide to writing adventure stories by one of the true masters of the pulp genre. (He said he never failed to sell a single story using this formula.) I’ve shortened it down to modified checklist you can find here.

Karen Woodward did a great blog post on different Short Story Structures. She lists four different basic structures you could use when putting together a short story or novella, and you might find them useful in your writing.

Nelson S. Bond was a contemporary of Lester Dent, and wrote down his own Pulp Story Formula for writing short stories for Writer’s Digest in 1940. It’s a simple formula for writing a 5000 word short story, and is basically a less detailed version of Lester Dent’s formula, however some might find it’s simplicity useful.

Pulp writer Frank Gruber also wrote a “Fool-proof” 11 Point Formula for Mystery Short Stories, which is more of a checklist than a formula, but he claimed it was this “formula” that let him write over 300 short stories and 60 novels that sold.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s  4-Step Outlining Method- a good straightforward example of how to take a core idea and unfold it until you have a complete story. The example is good, but is a short story, not a novel.