A short story is a piece of prose which belongs to the fiction genre. It usually focuses on one episode; however, it can narrate a series of incidents which are linked together.
Short stories usually utilise plots, resonances and components which belong to novels, but typically to a lesser degree. A short story is broadly different from novels and novellas, even if authors usually use similar literary techniques.
Usually a short story consists of a work between 1,000 and 4,000 words; nevertheless, there are some works with 20,000 words which are still categorised as short stories.
The origins of short stories date back to the 17th century and the first distinctive works of this genre relate to the tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann. However, only with the development of printing technologies, short stories have increased their importance in the publication market.
Short stories are characterised by specific elements which usually belong to the dramatic structure. These features include the exposition, the complication, the rising action, the crisis, the climax and the resolution. Due to their length, some short stories do not present all these levels. Indeed, many modern short stories lack the expositions and begin in the middle of the action.
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