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WHAT IS A SHORT STORY?. have characters – who interact or reflect on events have a setting – the place(s) where the action happens have plots and structure.

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Presentation on theme: "WHAT IS A SHORT STORY?. have characters – who interact or reflect on events have a setting – the place(s) where the action happens have plots and structure."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHAT IS A SHORT STORY?

2 have characters – who interact or reflect on events have a setting – the place(s) where the action happens have plots and structure – organised by the writer, to achieve an effect have a theme – main idea have their own diction and style of writing are examples of prose fiction entertain us, or sometimes make us think or feel something new have conflict – tensions and discord make things happen have a narrator – someone who tells the story are short – you can read them in one sitting have narrative – things happen somewhere to someone, with consequences Short stories

3 Short stories are short: Economy of form Short stories are like photographs, rather than movies: they usually focus on a particular scene, character, event or situation. With limited space, you need a clear focus, few characters, narrators and settings, and one central event or conflict. A short story is like a little earthquake: It must introduce and resolve a single event or point of conflict, in limited space. ~ Joseph OConner ~

4 Short stories contain plot A plot is a narrative that is carefully organised and sequenced. Plots focus on why events happen and the connections between them (causality). Plot events do not have to happen in chronological order: they may move backwards and forwards in time. Some stories begin in media res – in the middle of the action. Some stories have a twist in the tail – an unexpected or surprising ending.

5 Diagram of short story plot structure Typically, a short story plot follows this pattern: Exposition: The scene is set and the characters are introduced. Complication: An initial incident or conflict is introduced and we wonder what will happen or how the situation will be resolved. Rising action: Tension increases as the initial incident or conflict gets worse. Climax: This is the moment of greatest tension when the most important event of the story occurs. Denouement (or falling action): The tension decreases as issues are resolved or explained. Resolution: The reader gains understanding of the central conflict and its outcome. Often the character(s) learns something new or finds new ways to carry on.

6 Short stories have a narrator and point of view Ask who is telling the story? This identifies the narrator or narrative voice. (The narrator may be a character in the story or someone outside the story whom we cannot identify or name.) Ask what is the narrators attitude towards events and characters? This is the point of view held by the narrator. The narrator and his/her point of view shapes the readers response.

7 First-person narrator: uses I; is a character in the story, usually directly involved in the action. This narrators point of view about events or other characters would be subjective or slanted. Third-person narrator: cannot be identified. Usually offers a more objective point of view. May be omniscient, i.e. can see into the hearts or minds of all characters, and knows everything about all conflicts and events.

8 Short stories contain characters Characters are central – without characters there is usually no story. Because of economy of form (brevity), there are usually few characters – sometimes only one. Short story characters must leap off the page – there is no time for gradual revelations. Main characters can be static (they dont change) or developing (they change as they come into conflict with others or are caught up in events).

9 We get to know characters through: their interactions with one another and their situations their responses to events dialogue, actions, or exploration of inner thoughts and feelings.

10 Short stories use language and style Short stories may entertain, inform, shock, challenge, protest, surprise, express the self … Short stories use different diction or language. They may: ̶ tell it like it is in simple or realistic language ̶ experiment with language in fanciful or fantastical ways ̶ use poetic language full of imagery and/or symbolism. The use of language and narrative point of view determine the style of the short story, which should reinforce or suit the content, i.e. the situations, settings and characters it contains.

11 Short stories are located in a setting Events unfold in a setting – in a particular space and time. Stories may be set anywhere – a real world that the reader can recognise or an imaginary world, such as a planet in outer space. Settings may include reference to a busy social environment – that is, the social world, culture, and attitudes of a broader community. Setting shapes events or the destinies of characters.


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