The Short Story: A work of narrative prose fiction.
Aspects of a Short Story: • Setting: Refers to a time, place and atmosphere; where it’s happening and when. • The short story usually takes place in one location and the time covered is normally short (sometimes only a few minutes or hours in a day)
Aspects of a Short Story: What should I consider when it comes to setting? • Weather • Location • Time of day • Year/Date
Aspects of a Short Story: • Character: There are generally only one or a few main characters in a short story and each plays an important part. • The main character in a short story is called the PROTAGONIST and the character (or force) who presents an obstacle for the protagonist is called the ANTAGONIST.
Aspects of a Short Story: • Plot: This is a sequence of events in a story as arranged by the author. This includes: • Introduction/Exposition • Rising Action • Climax • Falling Action/Resolution
Plot • Introduction: We are acquainted with the setting, main characters, and the initiating incident or conflict. • A hook is really important here. Hook the reader’s attention by opening with a shocking line, description or bit of dialogue. Avoid the generic, “Once upon a time…” or, “Once, there was this guy…”
Activity: Writing a Strong Lead Take out a sheet of paper and write 3 weak leads (hooks) and 3 strong leads to a short story. • Example of weak lead: “One day Billy got up and went to his dresser to get his clothes…” • Example of strong lead: “Jason lay on the cold tiled floor, blood surrounding him, waiting for the others to return…” * Share your hooks with the class!
Plot • Rising Action: consists of a series of events which build up to the climax. • This includes the CONFLICT (the opposition of forces) which culminates in the climax. The conflict can be internal or external.
Plot • Climax: Highest point of interest, emotion and/or tension; turning point of story. • Falling Action/ Resolution: plot comes to a final resolution or denouement; loose ends are tied up and outstanding questions are answered
Aspects of a Short Story: • Theme: The basis idea that inspired the work; the truth about human life that the author wishes to reveal, explore, or present. • The short story is normally built around one main theme although minor themes may be present.
Short Story Tips: • 1. Have a clear theme This means: what is the underlying message or statement behind the words? Get this right and your story will have some resonance in the minds of your readers. • Why do some stories truly effect us while others leave you with the feeling of, “What was the point?” • To make a short story effective, keep the following in mind:
Short Story Tips: • 2. An effective story covers a very short time span (a day, hours, minutes, an event, etc). • It should be one single event that proves pivotal in the life of the character, and that even illustrates the theme.
Short Story Tips: • 3. Don’t have too many characters! • Each new character will bring a new dimension to the story, and for an effective short story too many diverse dimensions (or directions) will dilute the theme.
Short Story Tips: • 4. Make every word count! • There is no room for unnecessary expansion in a short story. If each word is not working towards getting your message/theme across, delete it.
Short Story Tips: • 5. Focus • The best stories are ones that follow a narrow subject line. • What is the point of your story? The point is the theme. It’s tempting to digress, but in a ‘short’ you have to follow the straight and narrow otherwise you end up with either a novel beginning or a hodgepodge of ideas that add up to nothing.
Short Story Tips: • 6. Do not fall into the, “and then….and then…and then…” TRAP!!! • Remember, use different transitions to tell your story: “Later that day…”, “Hours passed…”, “Moments later…”, etc.
Consider This: • Before writing your own short story, consider the following: • 1. What is my theme? • 2. What is the plot? (How will I get my theme across?) Don’t forget: Introduction/Rising Action/Climax/Falling Action/Resolution • 3. What is the conflict? • 4. P.O.V. Will my story be told from a 1st person perspective? 3rd person? • 5. What hook will I use to grab my readers’ attention from the start? • 6. Who is my main character (protagonist)? What does he/she look like? How old is he/she? What is he/she like? *Graphic organizers will be provided for you to take notes on these points.