Art of Short Story
Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out…Unknown
Henry Thoreau said that to develop a good piece of literature didn’t have to be long but it would take a long while if you wanted to make it short. Short Stories are one of the most fascinating facets of literature. They look very easy, but the appearance is deceptive. It is one of the most difficult art form. To develop a beautiful story needs a beautiful mind.
Orson Scott Card said everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any. Stories are a reflection of our everyday happenings. It only needs an eye for observation. Observation feeds array of new ideas and different themes. Thinking needs to be heightened to create an engaging plot around the theme. Characters are partly there and partly get engineering though our imagination. Imagination is the power behind the stories and Creativity is the soul.
P G Wodehouse said that his tales began in all sorts of different ways. He would start to write and in the process whatever it was he’d started off with got lost. On other occasions, stories would simply come out of nowhere. Writing a good short story doesn’t come in one sitting. One has to keep on writing. In the process emerges the good piece out of the lot of not so good piece. Writing here doesn’t mean pen and paper. Writing here signifies the imagination in the mind. It needs visualization before it gets weaved into words. So you don’t to have a place and time to write. It happens anywhere and anytime. In the flight, on the ground, in a discussion, watching a movie or walking in a garden.
W. D. Wetherell said a story isn’t about a moment in time; a story is about the moment in time. When you read a good short story, you read it on one go. What does it mean; every dimension of the structure has to be place. The characters in the stories to be interesting, plot to be engaging, theme to be meaningful and the conflict to be creative. Here resides the art. The art of writing craftsmanship. To be able to put all the aspects in its right place. This is an exciting challenge which makes the journey of writing a wonderful experience.
In general a short story comprise of five key elements – Theme (relevant to relate), Character (lesser the better), Setting (brief but vivid), Plot (engagingly simple), and Conflict (interestingly intense). The art is about the perfect play between these elements.
Theme of Short Stories – Central idea presented by a short story is called theme. It is the skeleton of your short story that is decked by the characters, the plot, the setting and the conflicts. You discover a range of idea around you from why religion in our life, life without purpose, interaction between humankind and nature to mystery of life to life on move..every word in short story must align with the theme hence it is very essential that theme is clear to you when you write story. The other elements of short stories must tightly couple with the theme.
Characters in Short Stories – A character is something or someone that takes part in actions portrayed in the story. The fundamental rule for selecting characters in short story is “lesser the better”. Stories convey its meaning more effectively if it has lesser character. One main character and one supporting characters would be ideal.
Setting in Short Stories – The zone of time frame may vary from hours to years. The fundamental rule in selecting time frame for short stories is keep is short. As a writer of short stories you must describe the surroundings in a more vibrantly and versatile fashion. Here the vibrancy in depiction should not be misunderstood by predictable events and expected actions.
Plot of Short Stories – Plot is the flesh and muscles of short stories. It comprises of the chain of events and actions from character. It depends on your artfully skill to illustrate and creatively connect the events and actions. The better the plot and stronger the plan you create, more interest it would it generate. A plot has start, a body and end that are linked successively by events and character actions. You must so choose a start that the reader gets hooked to the story.
Conflicts in Short Stories – It is a struggle between two sides of the theme of the story. The conflict could be between feelings, thoughts, emotions, beliefs or anything that exists around us in contrast. Generally the main character at one side of the conflict and on the other side it could be other side characters. Sometime the main character would be fighting with its own set of beliefs. While resolving a conflict either professionally or personally it takes time and alas one doesn’t have time in short stories. It is always better to choose only one conflict around the central idea of the theme.
Break Rules if Needed – Unleash Your Creativity
Irwin Shaw, author of Rich Man Poor Man, said he loved its freedom. One of most important facet of the art of short story writing – write with freedom. Unleash your creativity without getting chained by its predefined rules.
Unlike the rules in the law book, here you have the freedom to break the rules, do it and you may make a master piece.