I have written a bunch of open ended short stories. [First Meeting] is pretty much all open ended shorts.
I write these often. There have been many short stories where the reader is left with a bunch of open ended questions. I didn’t fill in all the plot points.
But I did take care of the main question, whatever that was.
An open ended short story can be a sort of opening into this world without fully immersing. It’s like a dream where you see a good chuck but are left with ‘what happened next’ questions. Stuff that can initiate your own imagination and thought.
This isn’t a leading short story. I didn’t drop the ball on the main plot. That doesn’t mean you knew what the main plot was. Some readers will key on certain pieces and assume they are the most important ones.
Open ended short stories leave a lot open.
But they are complete without being tied with ribbons and bows.
Not every package needs to be wrapped before given.
How do I do them?
I pick only one plot. I add in others. I create more than one dimensional characters and setting. I give you hints as to a future, because they really have one.
In [Still Counting] (Vampire Killer), the goal for Dominik was to get out of the cave. You have a bunch of added details. He’s as if a fully formed character with history and future. What would be the plot of the main story if I advance it would not even be included in the this short. [Actually… I have started a longer story and the main plot of the novel/novella is to defeat a vampire who’s been causing him problems. You haven’t even heard about them in the short.]
In [Suspensed], the goal is to get off the cliff face safely. The two characters exist together before and after. They’re headed somewhere. But the short is about that cliff face and only the cliff face.
In [Find the Child] (Original White Witch), the goal is to find the child which leads to more goals, but the short story is about finding the child, which Charlene does.
Open ended short stories give us added details that American writers will yell at you for. “This isn’t needed.” Maybe, it’s not. But it’s fun.
What purpose do they have?
As if everything needs a purpose… *roll eyes*
Open ended short stories suit well for free ebooks that tie into a series. They work well for prologues. They work well for giving someone a taste of the author’s potential.
I weave stories. I create complex characters. These little stories are capable of growing.
Sometimes these attempts are left truly open.
[Happy Puppy] is an open ended short story that cannot continue because the main character died. It would sort as a change of POV prologue around something in their life.
Why do I write these open ended short stories?
I get a bucklet-load of plot bunnies running every which way often. My open ended short stories are meant to release them back into the wild.
These shorts are meant to be taken and given a new life at some later date.
These are more than just prompts. A little prompt can lead to a greater story. These are openers to fanfiction that wouldn’t be called fanfiction minus the fact I would technically have to agree to it first.
And truly, that’s the goal.
These stories that I write, and others who create open ended short stories, are meant to cause more stories. They’re meant to give someone just enough details to start writing, to start creating, to come up with their own ending.
Not every story needs to be tied up in a bow.
Further explanations would be difficult without a story in front of me. For me, open ended shorts just happen. I find a nice end to the biggest plot and walk away. I close the box. I make sure there is something to close it out. And I’m done.
Writing these keep me practicing closing plots. They help me figure out plot holes found in longer work (because the closing is similar). They let me complete an entire story without burn out.
I probably do these well because of my disabilities mixed with my innate story telling.
Novels and ADHD really don’t mix. I either have to clear a novel in less than two weeks, or it’ll take me forever. Because I burn out from writing (or a medical flare up happens), and I can’t easily get back into a work. It’s shocking to say I have a lot of novels finished now. Because I had zero novels finished before I hit twenty. Zero. I’m over 40 individual novels completed. I need to recount… I’m probably over 50 now.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Speak up. I’m chaos and order mixed in a half living half dead body. I got this.