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Short Stories and Fictional Prose

What is a short story? A short story can be described as fictional work written by an author and is characterized as having a shorter length than a novel. As a work of fiction, it is composed of imagined events and characters which can be the author’s own inspiration or can be inspired by events or characters in real life. As a form of prose writing, a short story differs from a poem in that it is not composed of verses or rhymes. Furthermore, its composition and presentation is much different. In a short story, the presentation is in the form of paragraphs composed of several short and long sentences. In a poem, not only may the words rhyme, but the presentation is very specific; typically in form of a specific structure or poetic form.

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See also: All Short Stories

What is Short Fiction?

This is a form of literature that tells a complete story about characters and events in a brief form and it’s composed of 10,000 words. It has been one of most popular forms of written literature especially in the mid 20th century. During this period, there were many writers who wrote short fiction stories with the purpose of entertaining their audience. A good example of a short fiction is a comic book. While it includes visual representation, the number of words may average to less than 10,000. Well known authors from around the world who are renowned for their short fiction stories include Nikolai Gogol, a Russian writer, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne who are American authors.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that a short fiction story is not established by an actual length. The length is determined by the editor.

What is Prose?

This refers to literature work that has no formal organization. It lacks the rhythmic structure that is common with poetry. Prose applies natural flow of words and grammatical structure. A good example is normal speech that allows two or more people to converse. Many people think and write in prose form be it a letter, an article or thesis. Prose is composed of paragraphs plus it is known to forgo the aesthetic appeal favoring clear and straightforward language.

Types of prose include:

  • Fictional
  • Non-fictional
  • Prose poetry
  • Heroic.

Is There a Difference Between Prose and Short Stories?

Yes, there is a huge disparity between prose and a short story. Prose is a style of writing that applies the natural flow of words and grammatical structure. It lacks a formal organization structure and a rhythmic structure which is common with poetry.

A short story refers to fictional literature that is composed of fictional events and characters. The literature work is shorter than a novel and differs from a poem since it lacks verses or a rhythmic structure.

In conclusion, a short story can be defined as a form of prose writing that is composed of fictional characters and events telling a story written to entertain, educate and inform the readers. Thus, fictional prose and short stories are the same.

How Long is a Good Short Story?

A good short story should be composed of 10,000 words or less. The idea of a short story is to keep the reader engaged from the beginning to the end. It should be entertaining, informative and educational. As a form of prose literature, the writer ensures that every individual word moves the story forward. Something to note – any literature work that is composed of 1,000 words or less is referred to as flash fiction.

Some Popular Famous Short Stories

Here are 5 popular famous short stories.

  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  • Signs and Symbols by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Signal Man by Charles Dickens.