short story examples
To Build a Fire is the story of an anonymous character who leaves home for a destination on the Yukon trail but faces heavy snow which makes him fall. He tries to kill his dog to keep himself alive, but the dog also senses his intentions. Later, he tries to make the fire but does not succeed and dies. His struggle and his wrong notion about his strength and thinking power prove fatal for him. This is one of the best short stories without the names of the characters.
The Necklace is one of the best short stories. It revolves around the life of a clerk in the ministry of education and his extraordinarily beautiful wife, Mathilda. She borrows an expensive necklace from her friend for a ball but loses it when they are returning home. They, somehow, arrange to replace it after purchasing the original necklace with borrowed money and spend their lives in the struggle to pay back the loan. After several years, they met the same friend again. To their horror, she tells them that her necklace was fake.
“Thank you for all the material in this course. I have learnt so much.”
– Jacqueline Tasik
3) Stay focused.
By far the majority of criticism on the short story focused on techniques of writing. Many, and often the best of the technical works, advise the young reader—alerting the reader to the variety of devices and tactics employed by the skilled writer. On the other hand, many of these works are no more than treatises on “how to write stories” for the young writer rather than serious critical material.
The short story is usually concerned with a single effect conveyed in only one or a few significant episodes or scenes. The form encourages economy of setting, concise narrative, and the omission of a complex plot; character is disclosed in action and dramatic encounter but is seldom fully developed. Despite its relatively limited scope, though, a short story is often judged by its ability to provide a “complete” or satisfying treatment of its characters and subject.
It was late at night when I dropped in at a local 24/7 grocery store and bought myself a couple of bottles of cheap beer.…
Setting my old laptop on a makeshift table made of leftover wood and cardboard, I sat in the cold garage of my shared living house.…
This is a must. Bring down the curtain with a satisfying thud.
Jim walked in through the open door and sat down in a chair .
STEP THREE: WHAT happens between these two characters? Usually one character wants something and tries to get it but something goes wrong. This is revealed here through dialogue.
Now look at the analysis of how the story was put together step by step.
The notice informed them that it was a temporary matter: for five days their electricity would be cut off for one hour, beginning at eight P.M. A line had gone down in the last snowstorm, and the repairmen were going to take advantage of the milder evenings to set it right. The work would affect only the houses on the quiet tree-lined street, within walking distance of a row of brick-faced stores and a trolley stop, where Shoba and Shukumar had lived for three years.
This story about a young couple, Shoba and Shukumar, is from Jhumpa Lahiri’s first short-story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. She won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for it.
Keep in mind that since your short story is, well, shorter than a novel, you may remove a few steps. Knowing the overall character journey, however, can be helpful for character development within short stories.
Above is an example of what a character arc typically looks like in a full novel.
It’s hard to pick a favorite from Davis’s massive body of work (“Break it Down” and “The Center of the Story” are two more that I love, though they’re a bit long for this list), but on the flip side, pretty much everything she writes is good. I like “The Outing” because it’s the skeleton of a story, poking fun at the notion of “what happens”—and yet still creates a powerful sense of what indeed happened. How does she do it?
This story slays me. Saunders builds meaning out of nothing, slowly, it seems—although in a story this short there’s hardly room for slowness—and then rips it all away from you in the end, leaving you gutted and empty, which is just the sort of abject cruelty you really want from a writer.
There was a time when I thought a great deal about the axolotls. I went to see them in the aquarium at the Jardin des Plantes and stayed for hours watching them, observing their immobility, their faint movements. Now I am an axolotl.
In this article, I’ll be exploring some of the demands short fiction makes of an author and using examples from accomplished writers to show that when you embrace those challenges, you can write something amazing.