What is considered a short story? According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a short story is a “brief fictional prose narrative that is shorter than a novel and that usually deals with only a few characters.” That’s rather vague, isn’t it? Okay, I’ll try to make it a little more specific.
Short stories are simply that: short. They can contain as little as 500 or as many as 20,000 words. Anything over 20,000 borders classification as a novella. The basic elements of plot (characters, setting, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, point of view, and theme) should be present.
The first step in writing a short story is selecting a subject. The subject must be limited enough to fit the word count. For example, one couldn’t write a short story about an unwanted orphan overcoming tragic circumstances to become a governess in a wealthy household who falls in love with her ward’s benefactor and eventually marries him (yes, that is the plot of Jane Eyre.) One could, however, write a short story that focuses on a governess earning the trust and respect of an unruly pupil.
Your Task: Decide on a subject for a short story. Stumped for ideas? Check out my Writing Tips and Inspiration Board on Pinterest!
Next week, I will guide you through the steps of plotting a short story.
Until the next post . . . keep smiling!
 Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "short story", accessed January 27, 2016