Literature

17/06/2021


Short Story?

Dictionaries define a short story as "a story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel." We might do well to find fault with that final clause -- there are many short stories that are as elaborate or even more elaborate than commonly published novels.

So let's work on a better definition. The short story genre, or short story form, encompasses fully developed fictional stories that are typically between 1,000 and 20,000 words.

Short stories enjoyed great cultural popularity in recent modern history, a phenomenon that was aided by technical innovation. As the technology and economics of printing presses improved in the early 19th century, more and more people in America and around the world gained access to newspapers and periodicals. That started in the 1830s and expanded over the following decades. While it was impractical to publish a full-length novel in a newspaper -- Moby-Dick is 206,052 words long -- a short story, a complete end-to-end work of short fiction, fit wonderfully well and provided readers with a cherished escape at a time in history when easy access to entertainment was quite limited.

Ironically, at a time when access to all forms of entertainment are at our finger-tips thanks to the Internet, modern readers are demonstrating a renewed interest in short stories, and rediscovering the classic short stories collected here; there are more than 4,000 short stories at this site!

The genre probably fits very well with our busy modern lifestyles, allowing us to fill 15 and 30 minute gaps in our busy lives with a fun and rewarding reading experience.


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