Monday, 7 July 2014

Tips on Writing - What is a Short Story?

I've been asked on occasion what defines a short story, and what do all short stories have in typical. The answer to that second question might appear flippant, nevertheless it is heartfelt. The only thing they all have in frequent is really a beginning, middle and finish.
To improve that answer, brief stories are so varied, you could approach them from a great number of angles, that that is definitely, rather actually, the only issue they have in prevalent. Even the beginning, middle and finish can appear different in unique stories. In experimental, nontraditional or "non-linear" stories, the beginning can happen inside the middle. The ending might be so vague as to seem non-existent, or can swing back towards the starting. Richard A. Lupoff's 12:01 PM has several beginnings, including the finish.
What defines quick stories also requires a flippant sounding answer: It's a story that's shorter than a novel or perhaps a novella. How quick is up to numerous distinctive requirements. Some say anything significantly less than 9,000 words. Some say anything significantly less than 20,000. Some, significantly less than 7,000.
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Most, but not all short stories have a limited number of characters. Shirley Jackson's wonderfully dark The Lottery, on the other hand, certainly a short story, has nicely more than ten characters, most of them fairly properly created. It does, certainly, only have one particular place. Most, but not all, brief stories have a restricted number of areas. Kipling's classic Man Who Could be King has many, unless you take into consideration all of India one location. Some have defined short stories as those which have only a single or maybe a few conflicts in them, or a single plot. Delany's award-winning Time Deemed as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones has a lot more complications and plot turns than some novels, though some contact it a novelette, which can be somewhere among a short story and a novella.
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So what, specifically, is a short story? Which is up to the individual writer, reader, editor or publication to make a decision in their own, quirky, individual way. I prefer to believe of them as extra of a narrative sketch or study than a full painting or sculpture, additional a bagatelle or caprice than a symphony or opera, a lot more an annoying list of similes than a full-blown crazy-making analysis. That is, naturally, also insufficient. The sketches of Durer or Michelangelo are far more detailed and total than the sculptures of Picasso or the paintings of Mondrian, so even my annoying similes don't very hit the mark.
Even so, pondering of quick stories as a lot more of a sketches of events than novels (or perhaps novellas) is as helpful a distinction as any. The characters and places are going to be more sketches of individuals and spot than would be necessary within a novel. Communicating a central point or notion is extra vital than delving into specifics.
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