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Short Storys,Short Short Stories, And Flash Fiction
Edgar Allen Poe once said that stories should be short enough to read in one sitting. I think, with the advent of on line publishing the era of very short stories has arrived. It comes under names like short short stories, short short fiction, short stories and flash fiction. When I first started writing on hub pages my friendly critics told me that my hubs were too long, and they were right. I tried breaking them up into smaller hubs, which I titled as Part I, Part II and so forth. However, I did not find that really satisfactory. People seldom wanted to go from one to the next. I, myself, find it hard to read very long stories on line.
After reading various bits of advice, I concluded that a hub should be somewhere between 500 words and 1.500 words. Whether this is good or not, it is what I have been aiming at now. I try to avoid needing more than one hub for either a fiction or non-fiction story and try to keep my writing concise. I am writing this hub partly to organize my own thinking on the subject and to see what opinions others might have.
What, precisely is a “Short Story?” I’m sure this has been debated since before Edgar Allen Poe set pen to paper.
· One definition would be: a work of fiction, generally prose, more pointed than in longer works such as novels.
- The length of a short story, or most any story, may be determined by the needs of the genre it is written in.
- It may depend on the requirements laid down by the market a story is submitted to. Publisher’s guidelines vary.
- I am inclined to think that any story beyond 2000 words is just too long for on line reading. That is the reason that recently I have drifted to the short short story form.
Some background on short story writing
Short stories, according to Wikipedia, come from oral story telling, prose anecdotes, which sketch a situation, quickly coming to a point. I would add folk songs and folk tales to this. What drew me to folk music in the 1950’s was the fact that it was a powerful way to tell stories in emotional and concise sketches.
. There was a period where magazines published popular fiction and many fiction writers who have proven to be far better than given credit for are now looked upon as substantial storywriters. Their vehicle was the short story.
The modern short story may trace its roots to anecdotes and illustrative stories, which are usually straight to the point without embellishment. Parables and fables are very brief forms, which were used to enforce a spiritual or moral truth. Anyone reading the New Testament would be aware of this. These may be the ancestors of today’s very brief fiction.
Short stories cannot always follow the development pattern of the novel or other longer works. Whereas the novel may have an introduction to the setting (exposition), situation and characters, developing action, a crisis for the protagonist, climax, resolution and a moral. The primary change with a short story is they seldom have an exposition, but often begin abruptly, starting in the middle of the action. Often the ending is also abrupt and open. They don’t necessarily have a moral at the end. Since the story creator determines the specific characteristics of the short story as with other forms.
How long should a short story be?
Length of short stories depends on the genre. According to Wikipedia short stories can be anywhere between 1,000 words and 20,000 words. “Stories with less than 1,000 words are sometimes referred to as ‘short short stories, or ‘flash fiction’ which probabluy popularized the term.
Sometimes, I have found, the terms flash fiction and short short fiction are the same. Other times flash fiction is limited to fewer than 1,000 words. It might also be called by such terms as sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and prosetry. In 1992 an anthology was published with the title Flash Fiction.
Implied elements:I think the biggest difference in very short fiction forms is that many story elements are suggested or implied in the telling.
Although I have concentrated on short fiction in this hub, much of it applies to articles as well. I have concluded, for myself at least, that a hub should be between 500 and 1,500 words. The short short story or flash fiction formats work well for on line writing, since I have found that longer hubs do not work too well for me either as a reader or a writer.