“How to Write a Perfect Short Story,” by Tyler Plofker

Sep 21st, 2022 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

1. Go into the woods and find a tree that’s been growing for a bit, but not too long, but still for a while.

2. Rub a pencil on the bark of the tee.

3. Make yourself cry green tears and fill them with the bark.

4. Take a plane to Germany and sit on a bench and watch the people and think things. Some examples of thoughts you can think are “hungry” and “sitting”.

5. Get into an argument with someone at a bar and pretend you know more about politics than you do. Say things like, “the geopolitical ramifications of such a maneuver exceed what could even be conceptualized by the errant presidential party containing proto-fascist elemental holdings.”

6. Wiggle a tooth free and spit it in the toilet.

7. Call your cousin. Explain that you are in Germany learning to write. Mail them the tooth.

8. Remember your thirty-seventh day of second grade.

9. Drink excessively until you puke. Walk into a public pond and continue to puke underwater. Get a cute fish’s number and then don’t call them the next day.

10. Take a class on writing.

11. Drag your foot against asphalt until there is no more skin on your foot. Look at your skinless foot. Show your foot to people. Think about their responses.

12. Convince a tree not to kill itself.

13. Explain to a child that there is no more candy in production and all the candy they have ever eaten or will ever eat has already been made by people who are dead now.

14. Read Suze Orman’s best-selling book, “The Road to Wealth.”

15. Wake up every morning for a year.

16. Wake up every morning for another year, but this time, instead of eating breakfast, google “S&P 500” on your computer device. Watch the line move up and down until the markets close at four p.m. If the line goes down, make a noise like, “owwwwwwwwwwwww.” If the line goes up, make a noise like, “oh yes, oh yes, that’s right, that’s right, mhmmmmmmmmmm.”

17. Replace the buttons on your clothes with Twinkies.

18. Open up Microsoft Word.

19. Lather your keyboard in honey so that your fingers don’t slip during the writing process.

20. Think of the characters and places and things you would like to have in your story.

21. For each character or place or thing, increase the length of your story by 751 words. Divide the result by 160 and square it. Multiply by the number of themes. Themes can be things like love or sadness. Put the resulting number and some of your other favorite numbers in a cake, and wait until you eat one of them. Tell your cousin about the number you arrived at and ask them if it sounds good to them. No matter what they say, reply, “well, this is how it’s done.”

22. Begin your story with, “Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night, but then John Johnson woke up from his dream but still didn’t know his life was about to change forever.” Follow this with the word “a” one hundred times.

23. Put obstacles in front of what your character needs or wants. Then make the character need or want the obstacles and put in new obstacles stopping the character from getting the first obstacles. Forget the obstacles and let the character get what they first needed or wanted, but then have them realize what they needed or wanted was just self-realization all along. Then make your character travel to Germany. The travel should begin at about the fifty-word mark.

24. Have your character lick everything they come in contact with: people, gravel, air, et cetera. The sense of taste is woefully underutilized in fiction, so this will make your story stand out.

25. Vary your sentence structure throughout your story. Readers will get bored if all your syntax is the same. Here is an example of a boring sentence: John Johnson walked home from work and picked up milk on the way. Here is an example of the same words, and same sentiment, restructured to be more engaging to the reader: Home from work? Johnson picked milk. The John. Walked way on up. And?

26. Write “what” as your 654th word. This should be followed by the rise of the climax. If the climax begins after the 655th word, it is too late. The climax needs to involve saving a cat from a tree.

27. After the climax, make your character say, “what an incredible adventure…” This will cement in the reader’s mind that what preceded the line was an incredible adventure.

28. Move into the falling action of your story by having your character jump off a cliff. When they land, make them not die because since it is a story they don’t have to.

29. Conclude your story with the character deciding to marry the dirt below the cliff. The last line should be, “They lived happily ever after, but then John Johnson woke up from his dream, yes, his first wake up was from a dream within a dream, and so John Johnson woke up from his dream, and it was a dark and stormy night, and then he went back to sleep.”

30. Send your story to your cousin. No matter what they say, respond, “yeah, that’s right, that’s right.”

31. Print out your story and cut out each word individually. Re-paste the words in random order on a new sheet of paper. Then cut out each letter on the new sheet of paper individually. Re-paste the letters into new words on a new new sheet of paper. Photocopy the result and send it to your cousin. No matter what they say, respond, “yeah, that’s right, that’s right.”

32. Type your reconfigured story into Microsoft Word.

33. Send your story to a critique group. No matter what they say, respond, “I am not making any changes, sorry.”

34. Go back into the woods and find the tree that’s been growing for a bit, but not too long, but still for a while. Rub your story on the tree until about half the letters fall off. Look over your paper and smile. You will have now written a perfect short story.


Tyler Plofker is a writer living in NYC. In his free time, you can find him eating sugary breakfast cereals, laying out in the sun, or walking through the streets of New York City in search of this or that. He loves writing bios in third person.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.