5 Short-Story Summaries

  1. A story in the Classical Aristotelian 3-part structure
  2. A story in Kishōtenketsu 4-part structure 
  3. A story in an episodic structure (at least 3 mini-stories under a main theme)
  4. A story in a surrealist or fantastic mode 
  5. A personal anecdote as a fictional story

1- The dreams that come to life at night are usually a brilliant sight, transparent and blue, sparkling as though made up of the stars. But if the dreams are stars, then nightmares are the very blackness of the night sky, monsters of seemingly pure nothingness. Their bodies are made of something so much darker than ink that looking at them can feel like you’re simply staring into an empty space in the universe.  Nightmares are not unusual and often they are easily defeated. But for some reason, there lurks in the deepest parts of everyone’s minds, one nightmare that haunts ones every sleeping moment– Breaker. Breaker is a sleep paralysis demon of another kind, a monster that belongs to not just one person, but to every  denizen of Bryville.

The story starts (beginning) with an introduction to a special unit of dreamers  called ‘Lucidity’ to fight off the nightmares. It is made up of a large group of lucid dreamers who have the ability to control their dreams once they have breached into the physical world. Dreams are naturally stronger than nightmares, as those having nightmares generally have no desire to continue them. But Breaker of a different breed, having been formed by a collective fear shared by the whole town.The main portion (middle) of the story follows the newest member of Lucidity, a young woman named Lissa, who has shown the most potential for fighting nightmares yet. Lissa’s pressing problem is that she suffers deeply from trauma-induced insomnia, and so is unable to achieve sleep deep enough or fast enough to help fight nightmares. In the end (Resolution), though, Lissa is able to conquer her fears and past in a way that finally allows her to better control her sleep cycle, and use her powerful dreams to defeat Breaker. 


2-The story follows a young inventor named Aria, the daughter of one of the major steam-technology technicians, who lives in a world where steampunk technology and magic from the natural world are at arms. Magic wielders do not take kindly to the steam-societies, as their destruction of nature has begun diminishing the world’s magic. Aria inherited her father’s knack for machinery and works to take his place in the future. She’s never known her mother, and the role of her other guardian is filled in by her full-time guardian and advisor Thorne. One day, a frustrating project pushes Aria to her limits and her emotions suddenly materialize in the form of a magic burst (Introduction). After her initial terror and shock, she is left wondering how she is now meant to balance her place as a sudden gray area between the clashing worlds of magic and machinery. On her hunt for answers, she is accompanied by: Thorne; Raven, a member of steam-city lower class who claims to be on a hunt for fame; and Eira, a sorceress who plays the group’s guide into the world of magic. Together, they find themselves facing money-hungry vigilante groups, masters of dark magic, and mysterious kidnappers. (Development). In the end, they discover that Aria is not the unnatural being that she is painted to be throughout their adventures. A villainous man named Kyrathus comes to hunt her down himself. He is revealed to be the leader of a secret government organization charged with eliminating others like Aria in order to keep the societies at arms, so that non-mages can remain powerful (Twist). With the help of her allies, however, Kyrathus is defeated, and the group runs from the steam-city, now wanted criminals by the government (End).


3- ‘Spelling Mind Games’ is a TV-G series that resembles a typical criminal justice show, but with magic powers, and meant for a younger audience (think Scooby Doo). It follows a group of investigators who solve crimes; and in between individual cases there is an overarching story in which the group is pursuing a villain who spends the series pursuing  unbelievable power. At the end of every episode, the viewers get a look into the villains’ plans, often finding out that they were the source of the episode’s crime. It is a show centered around the idea that smaller crimes are often an effect of larger crimes at play (hinting at societal inequalities and organizational corruption). Episodes fall into 3 categories: short plots (solving small crimes); long plots (progress towards the villain); and world building plots (side ventures that develop the world or characters). 

An example of a short plot episode would be one in which a low-level crime is committed, such as the robbing of a small store or a mugging. The team goes off to find the culprit and discover the person responsible. Said person confides that they committed the crime due to difficulties finding work after being unfairly laid off from their previous job and now having no money. Though incarcerated, sympathy lies with the criminal.

An example of a long plot episode would be one in which the team gets a new lead on the main villain. They spend it pursuing the lead, nearly capturing the criminal before they inevitably escape and prolong the chase.

An example of a world building plot would be one that perhaps follows one of the cast to their home, where viewers get a deeper look into not just their own daily lives, but that of an ordinary citizen within this world. 


4- ‘The Somber Funhouse’ follows Michelle, a young woman living in the country who recently received news of her grandfather’s death. He had played a supportive role in her life since she was young, and his passing has left her in terrible grief. Unfortunately, Michelle’s hardships don’t stop there. After a few days of wallowing in her own emotions, her beloved cat, Darcy, escapes, running off into the woods behind her home. In her pursuit of him, she eventually comes across a mysterious circus tent and enters in hopes that Darcy may have gone inside. What she finds, though, is not her cat, but instead an impossibly large maze of funhouse mirrors– each one showing her different variations of herself throughout her life. Suddenly, led about by familiar figures of loved ones long past, Michelle finds herself traversing through time-traveling mirror realms, face-to-face with all the heavy losses of her past. She revists old homes, schools, pets, friends, and of course family in an attempt to learn how to finally deal with her own grief. With every mirror, Michelle gets closer to escaping the circus– and closer to accepting that the things we love never truly leave us. 


5-   Working in customer service is generally seen as a thankless and taxing job; and for the most part, Kai can attest to the truth of that statement. They suffer through their poorly-paying food service job for no other reason than the free food and the friends they’ve made along the way. Between the physical strain and frequently rude and impatient customers, it often doesn’t feel worth it. But just as they often see the worst side of humanity, they often also find themself seeing the best of it as well. Such as the people who gave Kai five dollars just for letting them use the bathroom (that was already publicly available!); or the man who had no cash to tip with, and so left behind a rose instead; or the woman whose husband was just diagnosed with cancer and needed an ear to listen to her fears. Between innocent children asking innocent questions, tired adults who break down at a kind gesture, and lonely elderly who just crave some company, Kai has the privilege of being reminded that sometimes humanity isn’t all that bad. And that at the end of the day, everyone is just stumbling through life in their own human ways. 

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