Talk About: Short Story


Dictionary defines it as a story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
The first short stories in the United Kingdom were gothic tales like Richard Cumberland’s “remarkable narrative” “The Poisoner of Montremos” (1791). Great novelists like Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens also wrote some short stories.
Efgar Allan Poe wrote his tales of mystery and imagination between 1832 and 1849.
Poe is often given the credit (by scholars such as M. H. Abrams) of establishing short story as a genre of literature.

Short stories date back to oral storytelling traditions which originally produced epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabhatara, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Oral narratives were often told in the form of rhyming or rhythmic verse, in Europe, the oral story-telling tradition began to develop into written stories in the early 14th century, most notably with Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron. Both of these books are composed of individual short stories (which range from farce or humorous anecdotes to well-crafted literary fictions)
Short stories have deep roots and the power of short fiction has been recognised in modern society for hundreds of years. The short form is, conceivably, more natural to us than longer forms. We are drawn to short stories as the well-told story, and as William Boyd, the award-winning British author and short story writer has said:
[short stories] seem to answer something very deep in our nature as if, for the duration of its telling, something special has been created, some essence of our experience extrapolated, some temporary sense has been made of our common, turbulent journey towards the grave and oblivion.
In terms of length, word count is typically anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 for short stories, however some have 20,000 words and are still classed as short stories. Stories of fewer than 1,000 words are sometimes referred to as “short short stories”, or “flash fiction”.

A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a “single effect” or mood.

Short stories have no set length. In terms of word count there is no official demarcation between an anecdote, a short story, and a novel.
As a guide some consider it to be less than 7,500 words.

A dictionary definition is “an invented prose narrative shorter than a novel usually dealing with a few characters and aiming at unity of effect and often concentrating on the creation of mood rather than plot.”

Determining what exactly separates a short story from longer fictional formats is problematic. A classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting, a point most notably made in Edgar Allan Poe’s essay “The Philosophy of Composition” (1846), interpreting this standard nowadays is problematic, because the expected length of “one sitting” may now be briefer than it was in Poe’s era.

Compilation of few facts
Shail Agrawal