What can they do? How are they different from novels? What things from individual stories appeal to you?

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1 Do you read them? Why read them? Why write them? What can they do? How are they different from novels? What do you like about them? Do you have any favourites? What things from individual stories appeal to you? Short Stories Purpose: Entertainment However: what qualifies as entertainment changes as our understanding human nature deepens and our awareness of the complexity of life increases. The more involved we become in life, the greater becomes our capacity to enjoy. We demand from a story some insight into life its problems, its joys, its complexity.

2 Rules 1. The Principle of Limitation The time span is usually from a few hours to a few days. Unlike with a novel where the time span may be months or years. Similar limitations / reductions for setting, number of characters, plot (conflicts) 2. The Choice of Narrator establishes the point of view a) told by author, in third person, from his/her point of view thus his/her knowledge is unlimited, peering into the minds and hearts of characters, telling us what they are thinking and feeling. He/she can interpret behaviour and comment on the significance of the story b) told by author, in the third person but from the viewpoint of one of the characters placed has the elbow of the character, looking at the events of the story through this person's eyes and mind. c) the author disappears into one of the characters, telling the story in the first person from that character's point of view. Short Stories Rules 3. The Structure of the Story plot graph elements Sometimes known as the 'narrative hook' a situation is introduced. This may include description of the setting and the introduction of a main character. Main purpose: to arouse interest. May be done with an exciting incident, vivid description, an interesting character, dialogue, a hint of approaching conflict. Then follows the inciting force / inciting incident / causative incident starts the conflict. Plot events feel tied together (cause and effect), suspense holds the reader as we are in doubt about the outcome. The climax in a short story usually comes at or near the end. Following this is the resolution / conclusion / dénoument. It may be foreshadowed but should be brief so as not to take away from the impact of the climax.

3 3. The Structure of the Story Types of Endings a) Surprise a turn or twist; should be a surprise and then appear perfectly logical and natural as we look back over the story. Thus it appears fair and not a cheap trick. It serves to reinforce the meaning of the story. e.g. "The Man Who Had No Eyes"; "The Interlopers" b) Happy more common in 'escape' literature; appeals to the immature reader. e.g. "The Blue Bead"; "Gore"; "The Taste of Melon" c) Unhappy very common in modern interpretive fiction leads to the label of 'depressing'. However, life has many situations with unhappy endings; therefore if fiction is to illuminate life, it must present defeat as well as triumph. The lack of 'wrapping' up the story causes the reader to brood, ponder, muse the implications. e.g. "No Renewal"; "The Lamp at Noon"; "The Painted Door"; d) Indeterminate similar effect as the unhappy ending; reminds us that many problems are never clearly resolved. It is the grey rather than the black or white ending. e.g. "The Interlopers"; "Lamb to the Slaughter" Short Stories Rules 4. Characterization see previous notes Direct or indirect Flashback to illuminate a facet of character that bears directly on the immediate situation Characters should be consistent in their behaviour clearly motivated in whatever they do plausible or lifelike not wholly good or evil Through our knowledge of fictional characters, we may be able to understand people around us.

4 Other Elements Suspense the quality that arouses our curiosity, uncertainty, or concern for the fate of the character usually focused on the outcome of the main action and may increase until the climax. May be created by: withholding information; keeping the reader in doubt as the outcome of the plot; placing the person with whom our sympathies are allied in a dangerous situation; an element of mystery an unusual set of circumstances for which the reader craves an explanation; a situation with a choice between undesirable courses of action. Interpretive fiction creates the questions "Why?" and "How is the protagonist's behaviour to be explained in terms of human personality and behaviour?". Escapism fiction creates the question "What will happen next?". Pathos the quality in writing that arouses a reader's sympathy or pity Mood of the reader Atmosphere within the story; created through a combination of several features most commonly, setting; often helps to create or intensify the suspense. Path P Short Stories Other Elements Humour to enliven the reader's interest Irony verbal, dramatic, situational creates economy suggesting the complexity of experience, or meanings, without stating them. Symbolism suggests meaning without stating it. Can reinforce other aspects. Imagery use of repetition, simile, metaphor, etc. to heighten description, characterization, etc. Dialogue see notes Theme the controlling idea or central insight. The good writer does not ordinarily write a story to 'illustrate' a theme, unlike writers of fables or parables. A good writer writes the story to bring alive some segment of human existence. When this is done searchingly and coherently, theme arises naturally out of what he/she has written. We do not have to agree with the theme of a story. Though we should never dismiss it without reflection, we may find out that the theme of a story represents a judgment on life with which, on examination, we cannot agree. There is value in knowing what the world looks like to other people. Sometimes the title of the story provides an important clue to the theme.

5 Do you read them? Why read them? Why write them? What can they do? How are they different from novels? What do you like about them? Do you have any favourites? What things from individual stories appeal to you? Have you written short stories? Do you have a method / formula / genre preference? etc. Have you ever analyzed a short story to see how it works from a writer's point of view? How was it crafted? Does it achieve its purpose? Have you thought about the prose elements (maybe not using those words) and how a little detail here, or there, adds so much?

6 Thoughts about short stories: How crafted they seem often neatly manipulated so that all the bits are necessary, interconnected, and pointed at one big idea The examination of one conflict (usually) for one character. The short time investment. Thinking generated by a really well crafted story: different genres seem to produce different stories fantasy stories are often happier, more optimistic more escapism mysteries are usually sewn up so feel pat, complete, finished the thinking is of appreciation for the author's cleverness science fiction stories often make me ponder the fate of the world, or human flaws time period stories remind me of the past and how things (often the human condition) have/not changed others leave me wondering how I'd react in similar situations Dislike sometimes I don't want to think to be forced to examine the difficulties of life without a happy/pat/satisfying ending. Short Story Unit Assignments A. Read "A Matter of Balance" together and discuss Do not write on the story. Take notes on separate paper. 1. Read stories in different genres. Analyze them take notes on specific things 2. Write your own in a genre you read in the first part. Annotate the prose skills and the effect they should have in your story. One class period given to this on the due date for the short story. Student example of annotations in \prose skills..\dated file Marking rubric on the wiki go over together

7 "A Matter of Balance"

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