Well, what can I say except the title already tells you everything you need to know. A One-Shot is a one chapter and done-sort of deal, where your story finds an end in one chapter. A Standalone story, so to speak. But you can make it more than one chapter still, or what I once did, is putting multiple One-Shots into an anthology where each chapter is its own story. Mangas sometimes release as OS, one Manga featuring maybe five chapters for example, and the story is done. It can be about anything, featuring everything you want it to be, and the story itself as long as you would like to keep it going.

A useful tool whether you have a fascinating premise you want to write down, but it can only be used for one chapter or one shorter story. My favorite type of writing to warm up, start learning how to write, or just to experiment with ideas!

Self-Insert

You don’t want to create a character and experience the story itself? Then Self-Insert is the way to go! Not to be confused by Reader-Insert, more later on that. 

Describe the matters as you see them, as you would like to be perceived in the story, and make it either a Mary-Sue/Gary Stu self-fulfillment or a more realistic story. It’s all on you. It can be also interchangeable with inserting your own character (OC) but for that you have to create the character you write for first still.  

  • Matters to look out for: The surroundings and biological aspects of these worlds. Some want to be a part of a big family or be a descendant of a popular character. But you can be someone entirely new added to the story as well!
  • A Self-Insert means you can just copy your personality, and to make matters engaging, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is part of the story unless you want to go full Mary Sue. It might even be therapeutic thinking approximately your characteristics, how you interact with the world around you, and how the figures would perceive you. Wish fulfillment or not, it is easy to go the MS/GS route and be the “perfect lovable new girl/boy in town”. 
  • Just let your creativity flow, and think about the other characters. They are just not suddenly entirely different people because you walk around the corner and enchant them and will love you instantly provided you are not an enchantress type of conjuror or an incubus/succubus meant to do that. Be realistic, and stay in the borders of the original story that has been set. 

Crossover

What it says, you mix up two series together. Something series and games out there already did, and they might even serve you as inspiration for your own crossovers. A popular one was when people shipped Elsa and Jack Frost, crossing the two characters over and their worlds, just to name an example.

  • Same as for the Self Insert: how do characters react? About the new world, characters, magic they might bring over, technical advances…
  • Who would be rivals, and who would be best friends? What are the new relationship dynamics, and which ones could you use for your plot virtue?
  • You can cross throughout anything. Go wild. 
  • Send them anywhere, and sending your characters into an alternative Universe is a object itself, an entire writing style, but that can be used as a setting for a crossover too. Be it in space, on Earth, at a school, or somewhere entirely different, your Fantasy is your limit. But staying authentic is perhaps the hard one in this one.

Provided you ever run out of ideas, the internet is a source and treasure trove for head canons, alternative universe or story ideas, writing approaches, anything to use for Crossovers to AU or One-Shots.

The next entry covers the Reader Insert, since it is a bit of a bigger topic. 

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