Snapping a few pictures outside the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. What a place!
Good afternoon! Today we can discuss the matter of how to write the perfect one shot. Let’s heaten up an afternoon tea or brew a hot cup of coffee. This winter weather, darkness and chilly air, definitely causes me to urge remaining inside, bunkered up in the couch with a fireplace in front of me. Together we can evolve and grow as writers as we dig into this topic of one shots. Welcome Thursday!
What is a One Shot?
A one shot in the fanfic world is often much shorter than a multichapter story (in words). It is one page/one chapter. Instead of being about a long journey, it is rather about a scene or event in that journey. Pick one moment and dig into it. A notable explanation of a one shot may not only tell in the two words, but also to call it a teaser. When being desperate for a movie or program on TV, we may find snippets of it on YT. This is a clip, a teaser, to attract us to the full story. A little bit towards this is what a one shot is. Except that a one shot is so much more – but it is good to head for this direction. It makes it clearer for us to understrand how to think when structuring and planning our one shots.
Of course, every story goes from A-B. However in a one shot, I suppose we can define it as clearer. It is easier to spot the A spot heading for B. A defined start and B destination. While naturally longer stories should have this too, a one shot really needs this. A good plan is useful. When we decide to write a one shot, the first thing we should do is to sit down and note what the event is. What do we want to achieve when writing this? What is the purpose? When we go from A to B, it is important to notice that there are only two letters here. We are not going from A to D and pass stops such as B and C. No, we simply go from A to B, meaning we shall know what is not necessary to have in our story.
One example when writing fanfics can be to avoid “unecessary” characters and OC ones. Further so, we should be very careful in how we write the summary (again). As the summary is the first impression, we shall avoid writing about OC’s there specifically.
The problem with bringing an OC into a one shot is that it usually requires us to give a bit of information about the person. It can put the reader on a sidetrack and a one shot does not really give room for a sidetrack. Not that wide at least. A one shot should be as concise as possible. Only bringing up the most important things. If there is a line we can delete and still get to the point, then we should. While this is a rule for longer stories it is extra crucial in a short story such as a one shot. There is simply no room to confuse a reader. While we must not misunderstand that for keeping the readers on an edge and on the thrill, there is a difference as to babble about irrelevant stuff.
We can sum this up by comparing a wide picture being a muli chapter story, and as we zoom in to investigate a tiny part of the picture – we find the one shot.
2.Can This be a One Shot?
This is a question of both our ability to prioritize and what kind of potential a story has. If we have an idea and really feel the many elements we want to devour, then perhaps we should try our wings on a longer story. If we have this grand idea to a story and a partly additional one, but not enough ideas to a fullenght multichapter story – then we can consider writing two one shots instead. Like a followup or something of the first one. But trying to force a story out of a one shot may not work, and we can have that in mind.
The best one shots that I have read have made sense. I have seen that either way there is a real great deal of planning to lay the story out like that, or, the author has a great talent of connecting elements in its head. To increase our chances of achieving this effect, I think we should put a bit more time to actually plan our story. To structure it and maybe note down the dialogue as well. If there is no dialogue, write the important elements that we want in this piece of moment.
I would say that one of the hardest things we face here is definitely to learn to prioritize. Is it worth it to write a partly well multichapter story because we think the idea has potential of a one shot+ rather than cutting it down into an amazing plain one shot? I have several times set aside ideas of a multichapter story as I have realized that having it down to a one shot would result in a much better and entertaining story. It would give more to the readers compared to expanding it into a longer one.
3.Read Other One Shots
By reading other one shots we will gain experience. We will grow and learn as readers. What is good, what works and what does not work that well? It will make it partly easier for us to spot dos and don’ts when we write our own stories. We will notice further what one shots we remember, those who leave a trace of a mark within us. To learn a rhythm through this type of text. What we like and what we like less. We may get inspiration as well, but most of all I think reading other one shots is one of the greatest lessons when it comes to learn writing our own. That is to come after writing one shots, of course.
We can compare those we read to our own. If they are about the same lenght, is there any unneccessary written, etc? By observng others mistakes and successes, we may learn a bit ourselves.
4.Lacking That Little It
To create a memorable one shot we really must have that one little it. In a multichapter story we are grateful for many thrilling events, but a one shot is… a one shot. One shot. One chance. We do not really have the time to build up like in a multichapter. We can create this make a grand ending, but it definitely requires a bit more of us, or simply in a different way, than the requirements would have been in a longer story.
As the one shot is one chapter, we do only have one chapter in giving the setup, opportunity, change of plans, point of no return, major setback and climax. Everything goes into a chapter and it really says it all: Consise. This is probably the reason I am often left impressed by writers delivering many well written one shots. That they manage well to see what is important to keep and what can we afford to erase. What balance do we need in revealing information and what can we let remain untold. While in a longer story it is amazing to always think like this too, but there is a bit higher level of acceptance in wrong doings.
5. Sum Up – Deliver Emotionally
Most of all. Those stories that we do tend to remember are those which deliver emptionally. Those who leave us feeling something. It can be stress, relief, pain, love, sadness, hatred, happiness. But they do twist something in us and that is why we remember them. It is said that we remember people by how they made us feel. It is the same with stories. We remember them by how they made us feel. I can raise my hand to this myself, as I know I can return to stories only by the want of reliving the emotion I had when reading the story the first time. I suppose it is the same with music and movies as well. We seek what we want to experience emotionally. Really, a thoughtful saying from the bottom of my heart. My own words to you.