Writing Short Stories ~ the Presentation

Here’s the powerpoint for my “Writing Short Stories” presentation to the SinC Smoking Guns on Writing Short Stories with Lester Dent’s plot formula. (This is what those attending the meeting would have seen while I rattled about the other information. IDK if the computer crash was a benefit or not.)

Scroll to the bottom to open the pdf document. You have permission to print.

The slide show is very bare bones.

If you would like to hear how I related the plot formula to four popular songs, then here’s a link to the first podcast episode on Writing Short Stories.  It’s a four-part series that aired in May of 2022.

In that series, I did breakdown the  plot formula for short stories in detail.

These narrative songs use Dent’s short story formula, a big surprise when I realized the connection of the plot formula to poetry. The four songs on the podcast, in order, are

  • Simon and Garfunkel’s “America”
  • Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls”
  • Carly Simon’s “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be”
  • Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff, the Magic Dragon”.

The Write Focus podcast is available on Podbean, Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Spotify, YouTube, and many more podcast distributors.

Writing Short Stories Presentation

Branding is The Write Focus

All through July and August. The Write Focus podcast presents BRANDING for a book, a series, and a writer’s business.

cover by Deranged Doctor Design

To hook readers, savvy writers manipulate cover imagery, titles, and the back cover market copy. With the right keys, presented in this series, writers will learn how to generate a brand for a book and a series. This knowledge will translate to their own writing business.

The series is based on M.A. Lee’s guidebook Discovering Your Author Brand, part of the Discovering series.

  • July 5 History and Keys
  • July 12 First Impressions Matters with Glance I and Keys One and Two
  • July 19 Clever Iconography and Keys Three and Four
  • July 26 More on Iconography and Keys Five and Six
  • August 2 Clever Titling
  • August 9 Market Copy: Taglines and Blurbs
  • August 16 Branding, Curious Readers, and a Blurb Script
  • August 23 Books Trailers and Video Clips
  • August 30 Key Fundamentals for Trailers

Thanks for listening to the Podcast. (Links below)

Support the podcast with a cup of coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/winkbooksr

  • You can find workbooks and templates at Buy Me a Coffee. Just up is the Enter the Writing Business Workbook and templates from the Discovering Characters Coming soon are worksheet templates and a video trailer script for Discovering Your Author Brand.

For more links and resources, visit www.thewritefocus.blogspot.com  .

Write to us at winkbooks@aol.com.

If you find value in this podcast, please share with your writing friends or write a review. (We’re small beans. We don’t have the advertising budget of the big peeps. You can make a difference.)

Listen on your favorite podcast site: from Apple to YouTube, Spotify and Podbean (my favs), Google Play, Amazon Music and Audible, Samsung and Player FM, Deezer and Podcaster, the rivals iHeart and Tune-in, and too many to list.

Here are the 4 easiest. Make us a favorite, and follow along easy-peasy, once a week, while you fix a quick dinner, drive a short commute, or take a brisk walk.

My favorite podcast is Podbean. Here’s a direct link to the first episode in the series on that service. https://eden5695.podbean.com/e/428-branding-the-key-for-writers-to-reach-readers/?token=0df527c4f966d5a924de4f2dc2d7425a 

YouTube direct link to the Branding Playlist https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXi3M_aM-d7L4OtDk2Bde7LDwQ2l7K8NE

Apple https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-write-focus/id1546738740%20

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/4fMwknmfJhkJxQvaaLQ3Gm?si=ffeb71ed17c3409d

Write Focus ~ Summer Podcast Series ~ A Mixed Miscellany

The series begins May 18.

We have various short topics to discuss. Compiling them into our Summer Series seems a smart idea. (Of course, what looks good on paper sometimes doesn’t translate to reality!)

Fiction / Poetry / Nonfiction / Interviews with Writers 

Thanks for listening to The Write Focus. We focus on productivity, process, craft, and tools. Our podcast is for newbies who want to become writing pros as well as veterans who are returning to writing after years away.

Looking for Links? All the way down!

Episodes links will not be active until the date of the episode passes!


May 18  Research / 3:21 / Episode 110

Research: a Ho-Hum topic? Not quite.

Research is necessary in all realms of writing.

Whether discovering the details that given veritas to our fiction, the details that we shouldn’t get wrong in commemorative poems, or just adding specific and elaborating details to our nonfiction, HUMDRUM RESEARCH is totally necessary.

The challenge comes in determining how many research details to use.

  • 1:11 Check-In
  • 2:50 Opening
  • 3:27 Challenges
  • 3:49 Fiction and Research
    • 4:31 Light Hand
    • 5:17 Active Use of Research
    • 5:52 Amount of Research to use
  • 7:26 Poetry and Research
    • 9:11 3 Chief Elements when presenting Occasional Poems
    • 9:16 4 Requirements of Song
    • 10:06 Public Ceremonies
    • 10:35 Writing for Independence Day
    • 12:50 Checklist for any poem / 10 To-Do’s
    • 13:46 Walt Whitman
    • 17:45 R. Waldo Emerson
  • 20:40 Nonfiction and Research
  • 21:40 Next Week
  • 21:54 Inspiration / Ezra Pound

May 25 Short Narratives, part 1

Having trouble with short narratives? Short stories? Narrative poems? Anecdotes in your blogs and essays/articles?

I had trouble. Free admission. I would launch into a story that I hoped would be 8,000 to 10,000 words only for the word count to top 20,000 or more. I was rather proud of myself when a planned short story ran less than 15,000 words.

My narrative poems ran longer than 5 or 6 stanzas. Think “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” length. For the blog I wrote, my example stories ran more than 15 to 20 sentences.

Too long. What’s that acronym? TL;DR. “Didn’t read.” Oops.

What was I doing wrong? Surely there’s a secret to short narratives? Guess what? There is! In this episode, I’ll share what I found.


  • 1:45 Opening
  • 3:28 Paul Simon’s “America”
  • 4:17 Avoiding the School-Taught Plot Pyramid
  • 5:15 Erle Stanley Gardner
  • 6:28 Lester Dent
  • 7:10 LDent’s Plot Formula
  • 8:32 The Basics
  • 12:00 Closing / Next Week
  • 13:00 Inspiration / Raymond Carver


June 1 Short Narratives, part 2

Success with short narratives? That’s our current goal. We’ve found Lester Dent’s Plot Formula.

We’re creatives, so we can adapt the formula to fit our genre needs. We know the four parts of the 4 movements. We’re writing fiction / poetry / non-fiction. What’s next?

The details, man. It’s all in the details … of the narrative.


  • 1:05 Opening
  • 1:52 Check-in
  • 2:55 Lester Dent’s Plot Formula
  • 7:21 Coincidence is a No-No
  • 8:04 Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” with the Formula
  • 15:08 Riddling: a Tricky method to end any story
  • 15:53 Closing / Next Week
  • 16:28 Inspiration / Joyce Cary

June 8

June 15

June 22

June 29



Resource Links

Lester Dent’s Plot Formula / printable pdf / https://mgherron.com/2015/01/lester-dents-pulp-paper-master-fiction-plot-formula/

Paul Simon’s “America” https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/paulsimon/america.html

Video of above  America – Lyrics – Simon & Garfunkel – YouTube

Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/garthbrooks/thethunderrolls.html

Video of above “The Thunder Rolls”

Prep for Publication

Over at The Write Focus, we’re running a brief series on how to Prep your Manuscript for Publication.

After the Fall Writing Challenge, Revision, Edits and Corrections, and Publish & Promo are the last three steps.

Visit The Write Focus website to view everything we’re doing.

Hand Typing Retro Typewriter Machine Work Writer

By the Way, we’ve expanded distribution of the Podcast. In addition to Podbean, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify, you can listen to us on the following sites:

Amazon Prime



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Google Podcast


The Write Focus Summer Series now Concluded!

September celebrates the end of the Summer Series for Discovering Your Novel.

Current episodes are always availabe on the home page for this site.

You can link to the concluding episode here :: https://eden5695.podbean.com/e/267-publish-plus-discovering-your-novel/?token=14f7b66789916cb9ab3db0dae0e63e1c

October begins all new content: challenges then a mini-series for Preptober with inspiration!

1 : 8 What’s In a Name /Characters & Titles / part 3

How do we find names for our characters? What techniques can we use to discover the best titles for our books and our series?

We’re running a little long this time as we try to crowd everything in to part 3 of the Naming series.

Find any resources and links as well as a transcript at this link: