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Short Stories

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The Short Story     CW Home

       A short story is short, fictional, narrative prose. Short stories tend to be more concise and to the point than longer works of fiction. Because of their brevity, successful short stories rely on literary devices such as character, plot, theme, language and insight to a greater extent than long form fiction. The story can be of any type. Usually, a short story will focus on only one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a limited number of characters, and covers a short period of time.

      In longer forms of fiction, stories tend to contain certain core elements of dramatic structure: exposition (the introduction of setting, situation and main characters; complication (the event of the story that introduces the conflict); rising action, crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and their commitment to a course of action); climax (the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point of the story with the most action); resolution (the point of the story when the conflict is resolved); and moral. Because of their short length, short stories may or may not follow this pattern. For example, modern short stories only occasionally have an exposition. More typical, though, is an abrupt beginning, with the story starting in the middle of the action. As with longer stories, plots of short stories also have a climax, crisis, or turning-point. However, the endings of many short stories are abrupt and open and may or may not have a moral or practical lesson.

 

The Short Story

A handy PowerPoint presentation on the medium.

The Outline

The longest story in the world begins with a well-considered idea.

Creating Character

Character is key.

The Rubric

If you care, here is how I grade them.

Narrative Modes

Building a short story requires the right the tools. Here they are.

Genres

You can write a short story in any genre; here are a few examples.

Write or Die

When the going gets tough, the tough get crazy.

Get Published

You know you want to..

Famous First Lines

Here's how the pros get the party started.

Critique

You owe it to your peers (and they owe it to you) to get really good at critiquing other peoples' writing.

Good critique doesn't mean you are a jerk; it means you care enough to try to make someone else's story better.

Pacing

Quick like a bunny or slow as a snail, how fast you tell the story depends a lot on the message you are trying to convey.