Text of An Introduction THE ART OF WRITING SHORT STORIES
An IntroductionThe Art of Writing Short Stories
AimsGet a brief overview of the development of short storiesLook at a few short stories and discuss why they are successful.Consider how the structure and style might help you with your coursework.
Introduction: A story of SubversionShort stories are different from novels obviously!But probably not in the way you think!Short stories evoke myth, mysteries and strangeness.They evolved at precise historical moments of transition the shock points of human history.The short story began with tales told around camp fires; were legends, prose poems, fablesThe ancient and medieval tales in The Arabian Nights, Boccaccios The Decameron and Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales and the fairy tales collected by 17th century Charles Parrault and then later in the 19th century by the Brothers Grimm are all part of a rich tradition of modern stories.
What makes a short story?In contrast to the novel, the short story is concentrated, intense, subtle and suggestive.Stories present a moment in time, sometimes described as a slice-of-life, a frozen moment, fleeting sensation, fragmentary impression, a powerful image. It has also been described as a snap-shot.The father of the modern short story is probably Edgar Allan Poe who maintained that the best short story dealt with a unity of effect everything in the story led up to one specific thing/event.Every story has a moment of distress, a moment that cant quite be understood, but in this moment, the inner world of the self is revealed.But it is also incomplete like something glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. It is for the reader to reflect on- to ponder, to fill in the blanks!