ABDCE formula to write a great short story

The book ” A bird by bird” was wonderfully easy and pleasant to read! There were a lot of useful rules from a Writers’ world, but, surprisingly, the most interesting piece of advice or a Writing hack didn’t belong to Anne Lamott, but to Alice Adams. Lamott was also so fascinated with her short story trick, that explained it in her book on writing. And this trick is so unexpected (and wow, it works!) that I decided to share it with you. Maybe your first story you are so eager to write will grow exactly from this writing formula. Good luck with it! 🙂


ABDCE writing formula of a great short story






A. You begin the story with action that is compelling enough to draw a reader in and make him to know more.

B. Background is where you let your readers see and know who these people in the story are.

D. Then you develop these people, so the readers learn what they care most about and what is so special about them. The plot +the drama, the actions and the tensions will grow out of that. You just move them along until everything comes together in the…

C. Right, climax. After which things are different for the main characters and we can see a development of these people, feel that something changed.

D. And here is the ending: what is reader’s sense of who these people are now, what they are left with, what happened and what did it mean?

What do you think about this formula? Is it a great way to start or it kills all the unique traits of the writing?


2 thoughts on “ABDCE formula to write a great short story

  1. Hey,
    This is a cheerful coincidence. I was taking notes for a creative writing course that I’ve enrolled for and heard about the ABDCE method.

    I thought I do some more research and bang, this was the first result on Google.

    Followed you. I will list to your post when I get to the part of publishing my notes online.

  2. This formula could be a great way to start writing… a new and emerging writer could find it useful as they’re finding their feet. But, like with most creative pursuits, I think anything that is formulaic should sometimes be discouraged. I can think of examples of fiction that do not strictly adhere to formulas like this and are considered successful and engaging in style.

    Open minded and thoughtful approaches to writing may work in other contexts and may go further to encourage other, uniques traits in a variety of writing styles.

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