Short Story Writing
Before writing a short story, the following components of a fiction have to be understood:
- Point of View of the Narrator: First Person or Second Person or Third Person
- Characters: Main Characters and supporting Characters
- Language and Style
- Setting and Background
- Plot or Theme
POINT OF VIEW
Point of View is the place from which, or the way in which, something is viewed. There can be three points of view: my point of view, your point of view and other people's point of view - the first person, second person and third person point of view.
In terms of a short story, the point of view is the perspective from which the story is told. A story can be told by a distant third person, a mere observer who may or may not have the privilege of knowing the characters' thoughts and feelings.
A Character is a human or some other participant in the story, whose existence is in the fictional work or performance. Characters may be of several types:
Protagonist: The main Hero whose story is usually told / from whose point of view the story is to be understood.
Antagonist: The character that stands in opposition to the protagonist.
Supporting Character: A character that plays a part in the plot but is not major.
Minor Character: A character in a bit / cameo (small part) art.
LANGUAGE AND STYLE
The way a writer chooses words, arranges them in sentences and longer units of discourse, and exploits their significance determines his or her style. Style is a kind of verbal identity of an author / writer that reflects his / her perception about the world. For e.g. Hemingway uses short, cryptic and journalistic kind of writing. How something is said is just as important as what is said. Language and style also includes images, the concrete representation of a sense impression, feeling or idea. Images may invoke our sight, hearing, sense of smell and taste and tactile perceptions. Imagery refers to a pattern of related details. When images form patterns of related meaning that convey a feeling beyond what the images literally describe, we call them metaphorical or symbolic.
The location and time of a story is what we call "setting". Setting is significant as the physical details of time and place often have metaphorical value. That is, the setting is associated with values, ideals, attitudes, and beliefs.
As setting is the place where the story happens, it reflects upon the characters and embodies the theme. Setting can also convey the emotional or psychological state of characters. The setting includes the following:
- The geographical location (for e.g., Delhi, London, Palghat)
- The time period (for e.g., 1965, during World War II, today)
- The socio-economic characteristics of the location (for e.g., wealthy suburbs, extreme poverty)
- The specific building, room and so forth (for e.g., a prep school, a log cabin, a bus, a military base)
STAGES IN PLOT AND STRUCTURE
Exposition: The start of the story, the situation before the action begins.
Rising Action: The series of conflicts and crisis in the story that leads to the climax.
Climax: The turning point, the most intense moment in action.
Falling Action: Action which comes after the climax and moves towards the resolution.
Resolution: The conclusion and tying together of all threads.
Complete the following stories in about 150-200 words. Give a suitable title.
- “Dolly woke up in the middle of the night hearing some noise in her room …..”
- “It was late night when Tarun heard a loud thumping sound on the roof. It woke him up and his parents as well. He decided to …”
HINTS: Search – a bag with black powder – fallen with a parachute – informed police – explosive – important information – police caught terrorists – rewarded.
- Aryan was awfully quite today. He never sits quiet in the class. Mrs. Arora, Maths teacher always calls him a ‘Talking Machine’. He has been a busy bee in vacant periods. No one liked his calmness today. She soberly asked: “ Are you alright Aryan?” He didn’t respond. He sat there with tears rolling down his eyes …….
- Arjun pestered his mother to give him permission to go to the village fair ……
- A farmer was going to the market with his son to sell his donkey. He was very anxious to keep the creature in good condition. ……
NOW IDENTIFY THE DETAILS REGARDING
(a) Setting: _________________________________________________________________
(b) Main Characters: ________________________________________________________
(c) Supporting Characters: ___________________________________________________
(e) Climax: _________________________________________________________________
(f) Resolution: ______________________________________________________________