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5 Fascinating Short Story Formats to Excite your Audio-book Listeners
You tell a great story when you create an interesting story plot with intriguing characters. The twists and turns are like a ride at an amusement park. If you got on a roller-coaster that you could see from start to finish, no matter how long the ride, and you knew that you were going to go up, then down, then come to a stop, the ride might be okay, but it might not be enjoyable enough to get on a second time.
If you got on a roller-coaster ride with a blindfold, hidden inside of a cave, where you could not see the ride from start to finish and you really could not see what was coming, every twist, turn, plunge and twirl would be mesmerizing! And, if you were to have alternate courses for the roller-coaster ride, your level of excitement would be high the entire time. This is a ride that you could not predict; a ride that you had to experience to enjoy and one that you could enjoy over and over! This is the feeling that you want to give to your Audio-book listeners and eBook readers with your Triple Finale Trilogies.
At Triple Finale, we position you to tell a fantastic story. Since each of our Short Stories are Flash Fiction (very short) stories with TRIPLE-endings, you can get innovative with your plots. Your audience has an opportunity to tell you which story ending they like best, so this works well for someone who wants to test a story plot for a larger body of work like a novel, play or movie. Triple Finale Flash Fiction short stories are brief and can be enjoyed within approximately of 20-30 minutes. (We’ve placed sample stories on our Podcast that you can enjoy here, but our Podcast short stories are a bit longer because they include bonus listening time.)
Triple Finale™ Short Stories have a variety of formats that you can use to create your trilogies. We have listed some of the most popular ones below, but we are certain that you may discover more. Today, we will dive in deep to the 5 fascinating short story formats that you can use to pattern your plot.
- Traditional Trilogy Format
- Linked Trilogy Format
- Puzzle/ Game Trilogy Format
- Chronological & Reverse Order Format
- Main Character Switched Format
Let’s dive into these varieties a bit deeper:
- Traditional Trilogy Format – This format is a basic Trilogy where the main story (or body of the story) is the same and each ending has an alternate, unrelated outcome. The main character stays the same in all 3 endings.With the Traditional Trilogy Format, you truly come to the apex of the story and take the story in 3 unrelated directions. The main character, for instance, may be the hero in one ending or may be killed off in another ending.
This is a fantastic format, if you have multiple excellent endings to a story and would like the audience to experience all three outcomes. With the Traditional Trilogy, you don’t have to find a way to weave any of the elements from the other endings together. The story truly glides down 3 separate paths.
- Linked Trilogy Format – This format is a fun experience for the audience in that the main story (or body of the story) is the same and the alternate endings have one small element that changes the outcome in each of the 3 endings. For example, if the main character ran through the woods and came to 3 differently colored doors amid the trees, each ending could describe what happens as the character goes through each door. The linked element in this case, is the door.
When you create a Linked Trilogy Story, you need to take the audience back to the space where the one element of focus provides the 3 different outcomes. Make the audience wonder, what would happen if the main character went through the red door, or how would the outcome be different if the main character went through the blue door?
With this format, you build suspense and drive the audience to want to get ‘back on the ride’ to experience the alternate outcome.Even though you have the linked element, the outcomes take the audience down completely different, enjoyable paths. This is a very fun format for any genre!
- Puzzle/ Game Format – With this fun format, there is a mystery to be solved, but you need elements from the other 2 story endings to solve the puzzle. The audience has the main story (or body of the story) and each ending reveals something wonderful that gets them close to solving a mystery that you have created but they need all 3 endings to experience the full outcome. This format is fun for the adventurous Authors!
This Puzzle or Game Trilogy Format takes a bit of skill. You would want to plan your plots before your write your story-lines. You use clues, that you hand to your audience to add mystique to the stories, which are One story highlights a clue that the other does not, but the audience needs the entire Trilogy to completely solve the mystery.
Your audience will let you know if they got your clue, and they will also let you know how much they enjoyed the ride. People pay good money to experience the joy of amusement parks mainly because they enjoy the rides.
- Chronological & Reverse Order Format – This is a format that gives the audience a sneak peek at what the main character is doing at various stages of time. Each alternate ending shows a snapshot of the characters in varied time-frames: Example 1 year out, 5 years out, 10 years out and so on. Also, in Reverse order, the main body of the story would introduce an outcome and the 3 alternate endings would describe what 3 alternate circumstances (in time) led up to that particular outcome that we experienced in the main story.
Most of us can recall movie sequences where we experience the main character going back in time to share the backstory with us or driving us forward in time to highlight an important outcome that we as the audience wondered about. This format is fantastic for a fast-moving story with a lot of action.You can decide how far out you want to go when you settle in on a specific time in the character’s life. Give the audience the detail they were hoping to find and use your triple outcomes to help you tell your chronological story.
- Main Character Switched Format – This is a format where the main character is not obvious in the main story, but the alternate endings follow different characters at the end. For example, the main story might be about a family. One ending may follow the mother, while another follows the father, and another follows the children or another family member. The combinations here are figuratively endless. This format differs from the Traditional Trilogy Format because it switches the main character.
When you use a Main Character Switched format, you can include characters from the main story to enhance the character that you are focusing on in each ending. This format gives the audience a clear understanding of how things ended up for just about everyone involved in the main story. This is an intriguing format to use when persuading your audience to consume the entire Trilogy. Just like the Puzzle / Game Trilogy Format, this format can be the perfect format to shine a light on the entire story for your audience.
Again, this list is not all-inclusive, but we hope it gives you a creative spark when it comes to your next Trilogy. Which format is your favorite?
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