How to Write Circular Stories:

5 Schemas to Potential Circular Stories

Have you ever wondered why moral stories and Fairy tales were such favorites? We can hardly say, if at all, anything comes close to that joy as we remember it, and sense of satiation of those tales. Recall the mythical stories our mothers told us and the fables we read as young children. Or even the adventure tales, or the classics. What was common in them? Why each one has stayed with us well into our adult lives?

Well, the reason is their circularity — the synonym of COMPLETENESS.

The condition of fulfilment lies in this conservation of equilibrium. And thus, the constant drive towards a circularity. It is the same for physics and mathematics (where are the constants?), technology and biology (find the solutions!). Think rotation, think zero and infinity, think reproduction and survival, think dynamic reality — it is the deep note of being complete in themselves, sufficient on their own that works on our minds to create a sense of completeness. The same works for writing. Whether a novel, poem, or short story, the schemata should work towards a satisfactory ending, while the tension should be built on the principles of uniformity. If you begin your draft piece on a conflict point, you must incrementally steer the storyline towards the same position of natural stability, without the conflict point, to achieve the sense of circularity.

I made a short YouTube video on five different elements that you may use to create that illusion of completeness in your reader’s mind. Do like, share and subscribe to my channel for more craft essay videos like this!

In each of our writer lives, we have felt this overall emotional connect to where we began our journey as a student, and then as a practitioner of literature. Most of us, keep returning to our origins. Sometimes it seems done, at other times, the journey feels unfinished. This June, something happened which made me so happy. Keely O’Shaughnessy, Managing Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine, shared that her debut collection, Baby is a Thing Best Whispered (Alien Buddha Press) would be forthcoming on August 15th). If you remember, I published a Special Post in December last year highlighting the work of four writers, who, back then, were without a collection between them, and Keely was one of them! Now, this, for me, is such an incredible circular journey! You can read my article on Keely’s writing style, inspirations and published work here. Read on about the collection:


Pre-Order Link:

Baby is a Thing Best Whispered is a collection of flash fiction stories that involve births and deaths. The dying, lost children and those looking to be reborn. Keely says: “The collection is a coming-of-age narrative that centres around otherness that leads to revelation. Being a disabled author, my writing can always be viewed through that lens and although not all the stories contain disabled characters, otherness is a theme that runs throughout. Each story is one of self-discovery or escape, all of which are tethered to themes family and womanhood. The complex relationships of mother/daughter/sister and the love, rage and confusion that come with them.”

Story samples:

1) “Practising Tricks, Spells and Other Incantations” (First published with Selcouth Station, 2021)

Quote: “On nights Mother doesn’t go out but brings her work home, we must stay quiet. She tells us the men are dangerous and wild. Fellow magicians you say, as you watch through a crack in our bedroom door when Mother contorts them and makes them howl. Sometimes, you swear it’s a body sawn in half, sometimes they’re escaping from chains. Tonight, you whisper, “Levitation.” Watching and waiting for a moment of wonder that doesn’t come, I pull you away and into bed before mother has the chance to catch you spying.”

2) “The Asarco Smokestack ’93” (First published with (mac)ro(mic) 2021 on the Wigleaf Top 50 2022)

Quote: “When Sal has been gone a full month, I go to the gasoline station on the corner of our street. It’s been repurposed as a religious centre for years now and the pumps on old forecourt are painted with messages from God. During Sunday meetings, when most families were inside, Sally and I used to bike down together and take turns pretending to guzzle from the pump that said, “fill up with old time salvation and you will be reborn.”

3) “What If We Breathed Through Our Skin?” (First published as part of NFFD’s 2021 anthology Legerdemain)

Quote: “When he’s thirteen, my son, who has his father’s strong jaw and the parts of me that matter, turns into a frog. It’s his skin first. It sheds in large coin-sized discs. I pull off the bigger, dryer flakes and bathe the sores beneath. He’s startled by the patches of green that radiate like sun on stained glass.

“Maybe I have to bury myself like an African bullfrog,” he says.

I picture his body blanketed in the clay-rich soil of our garden, hidden in the damp earth. It is a mother’s duty to shade her child from the midday sun. Days before, his father had reappeared and hopped over our circle of salt without complaint. He had promised he would see his boy, and I promised he would not.

“The males guard their tadpoles until they spawn,” my son continues.

Our home is filled with amphibians, and he knows them all. Their shape and size, and the perfect ambient temperature for each. My boy is smart, but he understands little about the dangers a father can bring.”

The collection has received faboulous reviews from Liza Olson, Laura Beasley and Amy Cipolla Barnes.

Baby is a Thing Best Whispered is now live and available on Amazon.

UK link:

US link:

That’s all for this blogpost.

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2 responses to “How to Write Circular Stories:”

  1. Great article Mandira – I’m just off to check out the YouTube video!

    Another area where I have see circularity used is in stand-up comedy – particularly in touring shows that circle back to a theme, and then reflect on learning.

    I wonder if this is an element that is missing from my writing? Cycles are such an embedded part of our lives that it is no mystery why we find them so compelling.


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