Short Stories


What to look for in a Short Story


-          Often plays a crucial role in creating atmosphere/suspense

-          Gives a context for the action of the story


-          we can learn a lot about a character in very few lines. Roald Dahl is a master of characterisation in one sentence.

-          What they are wearing?

-          Their physical appearance (features)

-          What they say and how they say it. (Similes)

-          What they do/physical gestures, etc

-          Animalistic adjectives; porcine/bovine/asinine/simian, etc

-          Eg. “she had a mouth that was puckered up like a dog’s bottom” - Dahl




-          Character faces a problem

-          Problem is often of their own making/caused by themselves

-          They have control over the outcome

-          Problem is all-consuming/ they can think of nothing else




-          How the problem is “solved”.

-          The great story writers might have a twist: an ending we were not expecting

-          Irony: when the outcome is opposite to what was being built up

-          Often the resolution leaves us very satisfied, without necessarily being a ‘happy’ one.

Great Short Story writers:

Roald Dahl

Flann O’Brien

Frank O’Connor

Benedict Kiely


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