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Short Story Characteristics

Short Story Characteristics. Definition. A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose , often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the 20 th & 21 st century sense) and novels or books.

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Short Story Characteristics

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  1. Short Story Characteristics

  2. Definition • A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. • This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the 20th & 21st century sense) and novels or books.

  3. Origins • Short stories have their origins in oral story-telling traditions and the prose ancedote, a swiftly-sketched situation that quickly comes to its point. • Ex: anecdote--- My sons are very tall. When my oldest boy was getting taller and taller, people always asked him, "Do you play basketball?" He would answer, "Why? Do you play miniature golf?" He stopped saying that when he decided it was a smart aleck thing to say. To this day when little kids ask him how he got so tall he says, "I always ate all my vegetables."

  4. All language is concise and necessary to the story.

  5. A single emotion or impression is sustained throughout.

  6. There is seldom a change of scene.

  7. The opening sentence or paragraph arouses and holds attention.

  8. One lifeexperience is dealt with, rather than several.

  9. The plot is simple.

  10. Action takes place in the shortest amount of time possible.

  11. Every character is essential.

  12. The ending reflects the beginning and resolves what was begun.

  13. The story ends when the author’s purpose is fulfilled.

  14. The story has the unities of one time, one place, one action.

  15. Either setting, characters, or action is emphasized – not all three. The first paragraph should indicate which one is being emphasized.

  16. You cannot add to or detract from the story without destroying it.

  17. The end may twist or surprise to fulfill the author’s purpose.

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