A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. Ashort story usually deals with a few characters and often concentrates on the creation of the moodrather than the plot.The short story format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (inthe 20th and 21st century sense) and novels. Short story definitions based on length differsomewhat, even among professional writers, in part because of the fragmentation of the mediuminto genres. Since the short story format includes a wide range of genres and styles, the actuallength is determined by the individual authors preference (or the storys actual needs in terms ofcreative trajectory or story arc) and the submission guidelines relevant to the storys actualmarket. Guidelines vary greatly among publishers.Many short story writers define their work through a combination of creative, personalexpression, and artistic integrity. They attempt to resist categorization by genre as well asdefinition by numbers, finding such approaches limiting and counter-intuitive to artistic form andreasoning. As a result, definitions of the short story based on length splinter even more when thewriting process is taken into consideration.A short story is often judged by its ability to provide a complete or satisfying treatment of itscharacters and subject.Contents[hide] 1 Overview 2 Length 3 History o 3.1 Predecessors o 3.2 1790–1850 o 3.3 1850–1900 o 3.4 1900–1945 o 3.5 After 1945 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links OverviewAuthors such as Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, William Trevor, Hermann Hesse, VladimirNabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf, Bolesław Prus, DinoBuzzati, Rudyard Kipling, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, P.
G. Wodehouse, J.D. Salinger, H. P. Lovecraft, D. H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway and StephenKing were highly accomplished writers of both short stories and novels.Short stories have their roots in oral story-telling traditions and the prose anecdote, a swiftlysketched situation that quickly comes to its point. With the rise of the comparatively realisticnovel, the short story evolved as a miniature version, with some of its first perfectly independentexamples in the tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann. Other 19th-century writers well known for theirshort stories include Nikolai Gogol, Guy de Maupassant, and Bolesław Prus.Some authors are known almost entirely for their short stories, either by choice (they wrotenothing else) or by critical regard (short-story writing is thought of as a challenging art). Anexample is Jorge Luis Borges, who won American fame with "The Garden of Forking Paths",published in the August 1948 Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine. Another example is O. Henry(author of "Gift of the Magi"), for whom the O. Henry Award is named. American examplesinclude Flannery OConnor, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.Short stories have often been adapted for half-hour and hour radio dramas, as on NBC Presents:Short Story (1951–52). A Popular example of this is The Hitch-Hiker, read by Orson Welles.Sometimes, short stories are adapted into television specials, such as 12:01 PM, Nightmare at20,000 feet, The Lottery, and Button, Button. Others have been made into short films, oftenrewritten by other people, and even as feature length films, such is the case of Children of theCorn, The Birds, Brokeback Mountain, Who Goes There?, Duel, A sound of thunder, The Body,The Lawnmower Man, and Hearts in Atlantis.The art of storytelling is doubtlessly older than record of civilization. Even the so-called modernshort story, which was the latest of the major literary types to evolve, has an ancient lineage.Perhaps the oldest and most direct ancestor of the short story is the anecdote and illustrativestory, straight to the point.The ancient parable and fable, starkly brief narrative used to enforce some moral or spiritualtruth, anticipate the severe brevity and unity of some short stories written today.Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on one incident;has a single plot, a single setting, and a small number of characters; and covers a short period oftime.In longer forms of fiction, stories tend to contain certain core elements of dramatic structure:exposition (the introduction of setting, situation and main characters); complication (the eventthat introduces the conflict); rising action, crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and hiscommitment to a course of action); climax (the point of highest interest in terms of the conflictand the point with the most action); resolution (the point when the conflict is resolved); andmoral.Because of their length, short stories may or may not follow this pattern. Some do not followpatterns at all. For example, modern short stories only occasionally have an exposition. Moretypical, though, is an abrupt beginning, with the story starting in the middle of the action (in
medias res). As with longer stories, plots of short stories also have a climax, crisis, or turningpoint. However, the endings of many short stories are abrupt and open and may or may not havea moral or practical lesson. As with any art forms, the exact characteristics of a short story willvary by creator.Oftentimes, stories cannot be truly considered "short stories" if they are around fifty to a hundredpages. Short stories are commonly classified as around 5 to 20 pages, but, as mentioned, vary onlength depending on authors. Therefore, longer stories that cannot quite be called novels areconsidered "novellas", and, like short stories, are commonly placed into the economically wisechoice of "collections", oftentimes containing previously unpublished stories, in fact, afterShirley Jackson died, someone found a crate of unpublished short stories in her barn and usedthem to make a short story collection in her memory. Sometimes, authors who do not have thetime or money to write a novella or novel decide to write short stories instead and work out adeal with a popular website or magazine; such as Playboy, to publish them for profit. A goodexample of this is author Stephen King, who has created several notorious short story collectionsand novella collections, many of which have been adapted into critically acclaimed films.When short stories intend to convey a specific ethical or moral perspective, they fall into a morespecific sub-category called parables (or fables). This specific kind of short story has been usedby spiritual and religious leaders worldwide to inspire, enlighten, and educate their followers. LengthSee the article novella for related debate about length.Determining what exactly separates a short story from longer fictional formats is problematic.A classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting, a pointmost notably made in Edgar Allan Poes essay "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846).Interpreting this standard nowadays is problematic, since the expected length of "one sitting"may now be briefer than it was in Poes era. Other definitions place the maximum word count ofthe short story at anywhere from 1,000 to 9,000 words, for example, Harris Kings "A SolitaryMan" is around 4,000 words. In contemporary usage, the term short story most often refers to awork of fiction no longer than 20,000 words and no shorter than 1,000. Stories of less than 1,000words are sometimes referred to as "short short stories",  or "flash fiction."As a point of reference for the science fiction genre writer, the Science Fiction and FantasyWriters of America define short story length Nebula Awards for science fiction submissionguidelines as having a word count of less than 7,500. History PredecessorsShort stories date back to oral story-telling traditions which originally produced epics such asHomers Iliad and Odyssey. Oral narratives were often told in the form of rhyming or rhythmic
verse, often including recurring sections or, in the case of Homer, Homeric epithets. Suchstylistic devices often acted as mnemonics for easier recall, rendition and adaptation of the story.Short sections of verse might focus on individual narratives that could be told at one sitting. Theoverall arc of the tale would emerge only through the telling of multiple such sections.Fables, succinct tales with an explicit "moral," were said by the Greek historian Herodotus tohave been invented in the 6th century BCE by a Greek slave named Aesop, though other timesand nationalities have also been given for him. These ancient fables are today known as AesopsFables.The other ancient form of short story, the anecdote, was popular under the Roman Empire.Anecdotes functioned as a sort of parable, a brief realistic narrative that embodies a point. Manysurviving Roman anecdotes were collected in the 13th or 14th century as the Gesta Romanorum.Anecdotes remained popular in Europe well into the 18th century, when the fictional anecdotalletters of Sir Roger de Coverley were published.In Europe, the oral story-telling tradition began to develop into written stories in the early 14thcentury, most notably with Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales and Giovanni BoccacciosDecameron. Both of these books are composed of individual short stories (which range fromfarce or humorous anecdotes to well-crafted literary fictions) set within a larger narrative story (aframe story), although the frame-tale device was not adopted by all writers. At the end of the16th century, some of the most popular short stories in Europe were the darkly tragic "novella"of Matteo Bandello (especially in their French translation).The mid 17th century in France saw the development of a refined short novel, the "nouvelle", bysuch authors as Madame de Lafayette. In the 1690s, traditional fairy tales began to be published(one of the most famous collections was by Charles Perrault). The appearance of AntoineGallands first modern translation of the Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) (from1704; another translation appeared in 1710–12) would have an enormous influence on the 18thcentury European short stories of Voltaire, Diderot and others. 1790–1850There are early examples of short stories published separately between 1790 and 1810, but thefirst true collections of short stories appeared between 1810 and 1830 in several countries aroundthe same period.The first short stories in the United Kingdom were gothic tales like Richard Cumberlands"remarkable narrative" "The Poisoner of Montremos" (1791). Great novelists like Sir WalterScott and Charles Dickens also wrote some short stories.One of the earliest short stories in the United States was Charles Brockden Browns"Somnambulism" from 1805. Washington Irving wrote mysterious tales including "Rip vanWinkle" (1819) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820). Nathaniel Hawthorne published thefirst part of his Twice-Told Tales in 1837. Edgar Allan Poe wrote his tales of mystery andimagination between 1842 and 1859. Classic stories are "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The
Tell-Tale Heart", "The Cask of Amontillado", "The Pit and the Pendulum", and the first detectivestory, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". In "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846) Poeargued that a literary work should be short enough for a reader to finish in one sitting. In Germany, the first collection of short stories was by Heinrich von Kleist in 1810 and 11. TheBrothers Grimm published their first volume of collected fairy tales in 1812. E. T. A. Hoffmannfollowed with his own original fantasy tales, of which "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King"(1816) is the most famous.In France. Prosper Mérimée wrote Mateo Falcone in 1829.In Russia. Alexander Pushkin wrote romantic and mysterious tales, including "The Blizzard"(1831) and "The Queen of Spades" (1834). Nikolai Gogols "Nevsky Prospekt" (1835), "TheNose" (1836) and "The Overcoat" (1842) are dark humorous tales about human misery. 1850–1900