West Chester University
Home Notes for Introduction to Literature Notes for Basic Writing (ENG 020)
Notes for Introduction to Literature
Notes for Basic Writing (ENG 020)
~~ Notes on the Art of Fiction ~~
Consider these definitions written by students in a graduate fiction workshop:
I once heard or read somewhere that a novel is a work of fiction of a certain length that has something wrong with it. Perhaps a short story is a work of fiction of a certain (somewhat shorter) length that has nothing wrong with it. I don't mean to evade the question; I think a short story can be any number of things (snapshot, an entire life, a voice coming to me from an interesting place) but the main thing it is, if it succeeds, is true to itself in all its elements.
A hard thing to define. A short story is brief, growing excitement and lingering recollection and pleasure. Kind of Wordsworthian. A good story should come back on you.
An asterisk in time.
A story is a fully realized world. After passing through this world, the reader sees his own world differently.
A story is a narrative wherein a character absorbs an experience.
I'm not really sure what a short story is. I think it's when something happens in a story that makes the reader feel he experiences something meaningful by reading it.
A short story is about something unforgettable to the writer for some reason. Otherwise, it shouldn't be written. It has characters, scenes or settings, and usually tension and conflict. It reveals the subtleties of the event by language, order/structure, and portraits. It is about place and feeling and people.
A short story is a slice of life-the thinner the better.
A short story (disregarding the type of fiction that makes comment on itself as "art") should provide some kind of continuous dream which the reader can enter, commune with, and leave having felt something.
Imagining a life you could never have imagined yourself, a life that might've killed you, or made you immeasurably happy, a life that by its very simple depiction seems ultimately strange, ultimately imagined, yet true.
Short story-an interesting little tale that is interesting, self-contained, and in some way important.
A short story is
a narrative that gives the feeling of being absolutely complete despite its
brevity. Its subject is humanity, and the unexpected is a favorite device although
it can also march ahead like a firing squad.
Questions? Contact me.
materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001 by Stacy
The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.