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Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Short Stories


Creative Writing 101 articles serve as one of the academic courses in the field of Literary Theory and Literature. The course, which is a fundamental guide within the scope of general knowledge compared to the technical knowledge of Literary Theory and Literature, also addresses students and the general readership alike. With this goal in mind, the author has opted to write the article in very plain and basic English to convey just the necessary understanding of Creative Writing by making the article merely an introduction.

Creative Writing 101 is mainly divided into five chapters including:

- Creative Writing 101: Into the Writer’s Creative Mind: Overview & Dynamics

- Creative Writing 101: Theorizing Creative Writing as a Discipline

- Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Poetry

- Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Short Stories

- Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Novels

Previously in the Creative Writing 101 series, poetry writing was examined and summarized as an institutionalized discipline through studying the various aspects of its poetic and compositional framework. In the fourth article of the series, another generic form of writing is to be explored—that of the short story. To grasp the dynamics of short story writing, a brief overview defining the short story will be presented, before going through an outline of the fundamental elements that constitute a short narrative, followed by an example of a Creative Writing course for such a discipline to be taught in class.

“The term ‘short story’ has relatives in the shape of the French conte and nouvelle, the Spanish novela, the Italian novella, the German Novelle and Kurzgeschichte (a word used to translate the English 'short story'), the yarn, the sketch, the tale and the Russian skaz.” (Penguin Books, 1999)

The classification of the short story in terms of its length has been the subject of many controversies over the years, whereby literary scholars and experts finally agreed on having multiple types of short story within the short story genre itself. In other words, instances of early samples of short stories like ‘long’ short stories, such as D.H Lawrence’s Fox (1923), is a story made up of 30,000 words, whereas ‘short’ short stories such as Kleist’s Das Bettelweib von Locarno (1810) is contains only 800 words. In addition to that, the short story was initiated to dark and gothic themes like in most of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, such as The Pit and The Pendulum (1842). Presumably, other appellations of the ‘short’ short story are referred to as flash fiction or micro-fiction, in which no more than 1,000 words are to be contained in the story, allowing it to attract and target a wider audience.