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Author Topic: Has anyone ever written a one shot before? Looking for some help on structure...  (Read 215 times)

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Offline wrathborne

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So I have my idea, not sure if its good enough for a one shot competition but I wanna go for it. I'm having some problems with one shot structure though. I've seen a lot of videos on how to write a one shot, but not many on the one shot structure.

I understand the basic structure as:

Protagonist has problem.

Protagonist is forced to face problem.

Protagonists flaw gets in the way.

Protagonist pushes beyond flaw and succeeds(or fails, depending on the story type)

resolution dependant on success or failure.

But I'm not entirely sure how accurate I am in this analysis and was hoping someone could break it down a bit further if they've done a one shot or two.

Offline Coryn

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Well, I'd say that is broadly accurate if you are working off the basic "hero" plotline. I don't know if that bit about the flaw and overcoming it is necessary though. The classic story arc of inciting incident, rising action, climax, and falling action doesn't mean a character needs to overcome a "problem". Depending on your genre and story, you could have an essentially "plotless" story as long as it is interesting to read. See oh so many slice of lives for an example.

Do you have any more details on the contest? Are there any guidelines you're following? Or is this completely open ended?

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline NO1SY

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One-shot manga that I have read have all been in the 50-ish page range, although as I understand it they are basically just stories that play out over one single chapter, so that could be anywhere from 20-ish to 60+ pages.

The plot structure can be quite varied... generally you will still see your typical three-act narrative structure ("Setup, Confrontation, Resolution"), but I have read a couple that don't necessarily follow this - some drop you in without any setup or exposition at all (well past the inciting incident), some are without a confrontation (things just happen but they are interesting or immersive to see anyway), or some don't even resolve (usually because they act as pilot chapters for further serialization (wouldn't recommend this...)).

I like the structure that you have outlined though, it's basically a doubled three-act narrative. I feel like it would be difficult to fit a tripled three-act narrative effectively into a one-shot page count... The only thing I would point out is that stories and narratives do not necessarily have to focus on a protagonist.

Coryn asks the right questions though, does the competition have guidelines for you to follow?

Offline wrathborne

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Well, I'd say that is broadly accurate if you are working off the basic "hero" plotline. I don't know if that bit about the flaw and overcoming it is necessary though. The classic story arc of inciting incident, rising action, climax, and falling action doesn't mean a character needs to overcome a "problem". Depending on your genre and story, you could have an essentially "plotless" story as long as it is interesting to read. See oh so many slice of lives for an example.

Do you have any more details on the contest? Are there any guidelines you're following? Or is this completely open ended?

Yeah its for the latest silent manga audition contest.

https://www.manga-audition.com/sma16-moments-of-fear-joy-or-love-2021-july-silent-manga-audition/

5-17 pages(right to left)

No dialogue, sfx bubbles are ok though.


Its meant to be really a short story about one dilemma the character faces and emphasizes on the emotion of fear.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 01:15:46 AM by wrathborne »

Offline Coryn

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I see. I've never attempted a story without dialogue before. Seems like a great exercise though.

I think your outlined structure will work, but it definitely needs to be an easy to resolve issue if you want to get it done in 5-17 pages. Do you know what kind of setting you're doing?

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline wrathborne

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I don't have everything plotted out just yet and am still trying to keep it simple, I'm familiar with pantomime comics and know how to show without telling though.

So the setting is medieval, the protagonist is a little girl clad in black and wears a plague mask leaves her home at dusk and starts to head towards town. She spots several other kids playing by a bridge into town and instead takes the round about to town.

She enters a bakery and tries to order something, but upon seeing who it is the Baker scowls at her. She places a coin on the counter, the Baker ignores her at first but she puts another coin on the counter, the Baker glares at her and points at the door. Just as she places another coin on the counter the Baker yells and slides all the coins off the counter.

She empties her purse of coins on the counter, confusing the Baker. Last panel of the scene is her pointing to something in the cabinet display.

Next scene is her leaving the Bakery and cradling a small bonnet before hearing something from behind her. She turns and sees all the money she gave to the Baker has been tossed out into the street. The Baker then locks the door. She trudges away from the bakery, visibly hurt. A large rock bounces off her mask and damages it.

She's been spotted by the kids by the bridge, the all have rocks and take aim at her. She forgot to leave the same way she came.

The last scene is her back at home, her older brother is in bed with an injured arm. He wakes up and sees droplets of blood on the floor that lead under his bed as well as the plague mask thats been badly damaged. He looks under the bed and sees two glowing eyes staring back at him, one half swollen shut.

The small bonnet is slide towards him. He opens it and its a small cake, partially smushed that says "happy Birthday".

And thats about where I was looking at ending this.


Offline Suuper-san

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that sounds like a great silent comic to be honest, very emotion evoking even as an outline draft like that.

You don't always have to follow that format you first posted, although it is quite useful for generating a core plot.
Really, as long as the story is interesting it doesn't matter if the protagonist faces problems or not, but overcoming a problem is an engaging plot point which can keep the readers attention.
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Offline Coryn

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Yeah, I'd say you're in a solid place to proceed. I got no notes for the story as you've described it. All that remains to be scene is whether or not you can back it up with the art. So good luck, I'm eager to see how it turns out!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF