Short Story Ideas in an Hour: Learn How Pro Writers Come Up With Powerful Stories 


It’s a myth that coming up with successful story ideas is difficult.


It isn’t.


And it isn't only for the 'talented few', either.


Everyone can do it.


Are you ready to discover the AMAZING stories you can write when you follow the right steps?

Some people think that coming up with ideas for short stories is a mysterious process, that it can’t be boiled down to a formula. 

But the truth is, there IS a way to identify great story ideas.

In fact, there are three ways.

And these three ways work for ALL types of writing from literary fiction to genre fiction. 

Hi, I'm Tessa Smith McGovern. I've taught writing for 23 years (since 2011 at The Writing Institute, Sarah Lawrence College). I'm also an award-winning, Amazon best-selling writer selected as a 'Featured' author by Kirkus Reviews.

Coming up with short story ideas that matter becomes easy once you know the three ways. 

Writing becomes fun, and so deeply rewarding! 

That’s why many authors continue to write short stories their whole lives.

My new online course, compiled from my years of experience as a writer and an instructor, will teach you these three ways - step-by-step, just by following the prompts in each video - and allow you to unlock all the stories inside you. 

And the best part? You can use the prompts in this one-hour course over and over again - you can make new choices each time you go through the videos and come up with as many story ideas as you like.

Keep scrolling to learn more!

The hard truth is this: Sometimes, even though you yearn to write and know you have stories inside you, life’s just too busy and you haven’t got time to think up any good ideas.

It can feel like the Muse has abandoned you.

At other times, you walk around with a character or an idea in your head, but you don't know where to start.

Maybe you get a few ideas down on paper - or you even start to write the story - but then things blow up at work or the cat gets ill or your family needs you and those ideas - suffocated by inattention and lack of time - evaporate.

And it can be hard to work on a story when you don’t know if your idea matters in the first place.

What topics are worth your time?

What topics are worth your readers' time?

How can you identify a worthwhile story idea?

Does a short story even have a structure? If so, what is it? 

So days turn into weeks and still you haven’t written the story. Before you realize it, that pressing, once-vital idea you had evaporates into thin air.

The story that could-have-been written never sees the light of day while other writers, with stories that might be less compelling, continue to write and publish.

How do they do it? They use the three methods you'll learn in this course. 

Imagine if you knew these'd be confident that your ideas matter and are worth writing - you’ll never need to lose another idea to the ether again.

And after 25 years of writing and 22 years of teaching, I've discovered the 3 most effective ways to come up with story ideas that readers care about.

Even if you’ve never captured your ideas on paper before, or you've started and abandoned a story before it was finished - none of that matters. 

What matters is what you do now...

It's not too late to start. 

Yes, I promise, it's not too late to turn everything around.

Imagine if you could let go of self-doubt and easily come up with story ideas that matter? 


If you could just nail down a whole slew of great short story ideas you're excited to write? 

  • ​Break the endless pattern of thinking about stories and wishing you could write them and instead, enjoy the thrilling process of getting compelling ideas down on the page
  • ​Stop reading other people’s stories or watching TV and thinking, I could do that! and start enjoying the process of creating your own unique stories. 
  • ​Go to bed at night feeling satisfied because you’ve shown up for your creative self and feeling excited about the next day’s creativity
  • Enjoy the deep sense of accomplishment that comes from coming up with story ideas that matter in a way that delights and satisfies you 
  • ​Feel the joy of capturing your creativity in a productive, useful way, of creating stories readers will also enjoy.
  • Create as many compelling stories as you want using this repeatable course
  • Become the writer you long to be

...all just by taking this ONE-HOUR workshop and following the EASY, FUN steps inside.



Yes, really.



What if you learn these three simple methods and start to easily create great story ideas?

What if those fleeting thoughts in your head turn into stories readers love? 

What if you create a story idea that matters in one hour following the prompts in this step-by-step guide that helps you come up with ideas and makes you confident YOUR IDEAS WILL WORK?

What if this is the best time investment you ever make in your writing journey?


The hardest part is getting started, but this course will get you started in a fun, easy way.

I’m sure you know many people who have goals to write but year after year they don't. Year after year, nothing changes. They’re still stuck in the same old rut. You don’t want to be one of those people.

None of us is immortal. We only have a limited time on this earth to create something meaningful. But if we don’t get started, it’ll never happen.

This one-hour workshop will lead you easily, step by step, through the process of creating short story ideas that you love. Stories you care about enough to finish, revise, and send out for publication.

Very often, what gets in the way is an image in our head: the IDEA OF THE PERFECT, TALENTED WRITER WITH PERFECT STORIES with perfect sentences that people linger over saying, wow, that’s thrilling/mind-blowing/beautiful! We dream of creating a story that does this because it’s exactly the experience we had as readers. It’s probably one of the things that made us want to write in the first place. AND WE THINK OTHER PEOPLE HAVE SOME SPECIAL TALENT THAT WE DON'T HAVE.

THAT'S NOT TRUE! That's not how it works. 

That 'them-but-not-me' thinking is a trap we create for excuse we use to not even try.

But the thought that our story might not be perfect or compelling enough and the pain of falling short of our dream - of disappointing ourselves - stops us from getting started.


Break the endless pattern of procrastination

and replace it with three methods that actually GET YOU INSPIRED and get the ideas flowing.

Experience HOW EASY it can be with the RIGHT, STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE.

Go to bed tonight feeling satisfied

that you did what you needed to today to FURTHER YOUR PROGRESS and LEARN CRUCIAL WRITING SKILLS.


Easily face down the blinking cursor

on an empty page, armed with these steps to





IT'S A SYSTEMATIC, STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH to come up with winning ideas.

If your favorite authors had never played with those first, wisp-of-smoke ideas, those stories you love wouldn’t exist.

And it’s exactly the same with YOUR stories.

If you don't get your ideas on the page, you have nothing to build on. Nothing to add to and turn into something satisfying, something deeply moving.

And I know what your objection is here - what if I can't recognize what matters, if I don't know what will make a story that matters?

I totally get it. No one wants that.

There’s a way to approach your short story ideas so that you know your ideas matter. And there are three methods for finding ideas that matter.

You’ll clearly see the value of these ideas, and you’ll be excited to write it and finish that story.


Short Story in an Hour: From Blank Page to Story Ideas That Matter

The on-demand video workshop that you can use repeatedly to come up with dozens of short story ideas that matter even if:

  • You've never done it before
  • You have no ideas
  • You have too MANY ideas!
  • You don't know how
  • You've started and stopped writing and given up in the past
Click to get started now!

This course contains everything you need to come up with dozens of short story ideas that matter.


VIDEO 1 INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME TO PLAYTIME! How to gather story ideas of different types. What is a short story? How to recognize stories you'll care about enough to write, finish, revise, and publish.

VIDEO 2 FIRST SOURCE OF IDEAS AN EASY WAY TO FILL THE WELL OF YOUR IMAGINATION and spark new ideas using memoir and autofiction. Two different approaches - which one suits you best? Art should serve the artist. How to use rites of passage to inspire a story. Your first exercise.

VIDEO 3 SECOND SOURCE OF IDEAS ELEMENTS OF FAVORITE BOOKS, TV, OR FILMS THAT MOVE YOU. YOUR KID LIST AND YOUR SKID LIST. How to create your own unique author thumbprint. Your second exercise.

VIDEO 4 THIRD SOURCE OF IDEAS STORIES FROM LIFE. STORIES ARE ALL AROUND YOU but which ones touch your heart? Why? Discover how to identify which element of the story has affected you (it's more complicated than we might think) so you can use it to create a story that matters to you. This is key to finishing, revising, and (if you want) submitting it for publication. 


VIDEO 6 LOVING KINDNESS MEDITATION FOR WRITERS Start, or increase, the number of words you get on the page. Improve focus, memory, and productivity.                                                                                           

RESOURCES TWO FREE WEEKLY WRITING SPRINTS WITH MICRO LESSONS AND SUBMISSION PARTIES ON ZOOM Keep your momentum going (or easily start writing again), improve your craft, and submit your stories for publication in these two fun, free, weekly sprints. 

Please join our lovely group of writers stay accountable, make writer friends and let's get those stories written!


By the end of this workshop, you'll have a system for coming up with story ideas that matter, getting started, and everything you need to start creating your artistic legacy. 

If you love and value your stories, there will be readers who love and value them too. 

Build a body of work you love and value.

It's time to share your legacy.

Become the writer you’ve always longed to be with this step-by-step, simple workshop.

Here's What To Do Next

 Your investment in Short Story in an Hour: From Blank Page to Finished Outline is just $49.

As soon as you place your order, you'll receive an email with a receipt and a link that grants you instant access to the workshop.

You can access the course anytime, anywhere, on your phone, tablet, or desktop without having to wait for an arbitrary start date.

You can repeat the course as often as you want to follow the prompts and come up with new ideas.

And you'll have LIFETIME ACCESS.

I’m ready to come up with story ideas that matter!

This Course Is Perfect for: 

  • This course is for people who wish they could easily come up with story ideas that matter so they can start writing.

  •  It's for people with any level of experience, from beginners to published writers. 

  •  It’s for people who are willing to consider that something they thought was hard - even torturous - actually doesn’t have to be.

  •  It’s for people who’re open to the idea that coming up with story ideas that matter can be a worthwhile endeavour that's fun and results in a story they can be proud of. 

  •  It’s for people who are tired of letting time slip by and feeling guilty for not writing.

  •  For people who are ready to consider that showing up to explore their creative self can actually be one of the easiest, most fun things we do!

  •  It’s for writers who want a streamlined, simple method for coming up with story ideas that matter. 

This Course May Not Be For:

  • This course is not for people who aren’t willing to consider new ideas.

  •  It’s not for people who want to cling to the idea that writers must suffer for their art.

  • It's not for people who think only 'special' people have access to creativity.  
  •  It’s not for people who are comfortable letting the months and years slip by without fulfilling their dream and becoming the writer they long to be.


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Kind Words

“Tessa was a remarkable teacher...of the art and craft of writing in general. Her vision was timeless and inspired, and her course was truly life-changing for me.”

Jeanne Chinard, The Writing Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, NY


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Kind Words

“Tessa...brought fresh energy, inspiration, and creative ideas to her workshop. The impossible no longer feels impossible, thanks to Tessa. I am 300% glad to have studied with her.”

Ellen Luborsky, PhD
Student, The Writing Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, NY

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Kind Words

“Tessa...has valuable insight into the psychology of writing and writers.”

Jeanette Gould, The Writing Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, NY

Yes, I want this!


Will this workshop work if I’m a complete beginner?

Yes! Remember that your subconscious mind has been recording stories since before you were five. This workshop will teach you all about what makes a short story and how to write a successful outline for one. You have a lot of stories inside you, even if you’ve never written one before.

Will this workshop work if I’ve already finished, or even published, some stories?

Yes. It will make your next stories simpler, more powerful, and much more fun to write! 

Does knowing this simple formula for writing a short story outline mean you’ll write the same short story repeatedly? Will it inhibit your originality?

No. It’s a broad formula -- a skeleton -- that provides options for structure without limiting your imagination in any way.

Will knowing this formula magically turn you into Anne Tyler or Neil Gaiman overnight? 

No. But then, you wouldn’t want that. The only artist you want to be is YOU.

There’s only one of you in the world, with your unique sensibilities and skills, and that’s the writer -- the artist -- that you can become.

Will this workshop work for people who struggle with perfectionism?

Yes! It’s the antidote to perfectionism. It will show you how to easily write your outline and have fun doing it. It's playtime! 

Will this workshop work for non-techie people?

Yes. Just watch (or listen to) the videos, and download the PDF or the transcript (they're exactly the same) that goes with each video. That’s it!

Let's get started!

Terms of Purchase 

Once you buy this course, you can use it repeatedly to complete dozens of story outlines by making different choices as you go through the videos.

All the videos and transcripts are available to you instantly, in full, so there are no refunds.