Short stories have been around for hundreds and no less thousands of years. Told by innovative story tellers who passed on traditions and fairy tales to the young and old. Verbal and written they were loved by all.
Why do we love our short stories? Because they are pure. From Once upon a time to The End.
I would have loved to hear the elders verbalizing to a group of students in a market square or the ancient Greeks with their huge influence on the Western Society of today.
We all know Homer’s best known epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Aristophanes my favourite. A playwright who wrote comedies. His most famous - The Clouds- seen as a contributing factor to the trial and execution of Socrates.
When you read these works now, they convey how these stories influenced the populations. Most emerged from oral storytelling traditions in the 17th century.
Which brings me to the structure.
The short story features a small cast of characters, and it focuses on a single incident.
Short stories have no set length. I like to think in verbal terms. How long would it take to tell this story if I was reading it to say a group of students, or a room full of ardent critics. In terms of word count, there is no official demarcation between an anecdote, a short story, and a novel.
A classic definition is to read the story in one sitting. For example, Edgar Allan Poe’s, Thomas Le Moineau -Le Moile, written in 1846 of Approx. 1000 words.
Is it harder to write a Short? Yes and No. In the traditional Novel, writers can combine several different characters and a range of events. And the writer can take a long time to get there.
Longer stories that cannot be classified as novels are considered novellas or novelettes and like their cousins, short stories can be collected into a form of collections. Most authors use this idea for unpublished stories hidden in cardboard boxes or laying idle in a folder, notably the ‘other’ computer file.
To go back to the beginning, I like writing these shorts. A challenge to pull together two or three characters, get them in trouble and rescue them, bringing in the cavalry and the applause when you write The End.