Guest Author - Kathryn Jones Merry
It’s surprising, when considered, just how the lowly short story can rival the greatest novel ever written. Answering a curious child’s question can become a short story. Likewise, a business person may need to write an analysis to explain a complicated new theory. Uncountable short stories are shared every day in writing and their power lies in the constant universal use to entertain, explain, create laughter, and share new ideas.
In the technological world today short stories are shared verbally, in books, and with the “new baby” of information delivery, electronically. Over the centuries, subjects shared methods of survival, unusual events, adventures, and social interactions. It’s interesting to note that today society still shares short stories for the same reasons. Humanity continues to progress, exploring the oldest and newest concepts and scientific advances. New ideas in short stories are shared and within the smallest bit of time often become reality. While topics may have expanded their scope, they still fall within the original categories of tales told around campfires under the stars.
So, let’s consider writing a short story. What is the story’s purpose? Is it to inform or instruct? Will outside references be used? Often when the information is technical it can advantageous to use an outline to format the points to be made. Information can be moved after written to present a flow of the idea, keeping the attention of the reader.
Or will the story be an emotional sharing of the author? Is it fictional or true? What emotional is being used to permeate the story and keep the reader captured by all the possibilities that are waiting on the next page?
Journals are different. Who have you seen? Where did you go? What was said? Did you learn something new? While listening to others, did you develop a new opinion or perspective? These are questions that help create your personal short stories. By keeping short notes each day you may be surprised at the story you have to tell. Science fiction, fantasy, self-discovery, shared emotions are also popular options for today’s short stories. The world has turned into an infinite universe filled with amazing options to explore and share.
How long does a short story need to be? Most stories published in magazines can be read in 20 to 30+ minutes. However, many of today’s popular novelists will publish a compendium of short stories and each one can take several sittings to read. That leaves a lot of room for the writer to decide how much detail to include in the story. Unlike novels, a short story maintains a continuous focus as the story unfolds.
So sits the little short story with amazing powers. Write to share, laugh, cry, or just follow where the story takes you.