Discussion: Techniques of Development

In order to craft an effective and interesting short story, a writer must be able to help the reader visualize the setting and understand the movement in the story. A loss of the story’s realistic nature could mean the loss of a reader. Writers often create this context by describing the details visible to the characters and using narration to relate the background to what is happening in the story. In this Discussion, you will examine how established writers use the development techniques of setting, plot, and time to create an effective story.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review the assigned portions of Chapters 5, 9, and 10 in Shaping the Story.

Review the following short stories and look for the techniques of time, setting, and plot:

  • Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible in Shaping the Story.
  • Chopin, K., & Knights, P. (2000). The Awakening, and Other Stories. Oxford, [England]: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

Consider how the authors use the setting, plot, and time in their stories as tools to describe and narrate the scenes.

  • What are the settings of each story?
  • How do the authors establish plot in each story?
  • In what time frame does each story occur?

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

Post 2 to 3 paragraphs deconstructing the use of description and narration in each story. Be sure to answer the following questions:

  • How do the authors use description and narration to explain their stories to the reader?
  • How do the authors develop their plots?
  • How is it similar to or different from the way the other authors developed their plots?
  • How do the authors create the settings?
  • How does clarity of plot make a story more effective?
  • How do the authors illustrate the passage of time?

Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s Learning Resources, or something you have read, heard, seen, or experienced.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

Respond to at least one of your colleague’s postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

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