Notes on the Short Story:

Narrative Writing

Types of Writing in ELA:

  1. Narrative: tells a story where the author wants to relate their ideas through relationship building.

  1. Expository: this writing gives facts where the author wants to inform the reader about a certain subject (a report).

  1. Persuasive: this type of writing takes the author’s opinion or viewpoint which the author will then prove using fact, explanation and examples (letter to he editor; essay)

  1. Poetry: the poet uses images, emotional phrasing and description to create an emotional response in the reader; uses few words to say a lot.

Structure of Narrative Writing

  1. Introduction: What is needed in this section?
    1. Character(s): Brief description of who they are/what they look like/ how they act
    2. Setting: Where does this story take place. If it is unfamiliar to the reader, more description is needed.
    3. Conflict: what is the source of the problem that will be discussed in the rising action

  1. Rising Action: Starts with the Initial Incident: this is the central problem that is going to be solved.
    1. Character(s): how does the initial incident affect the character(s); what happens to the character(s).
    2. Setting: How does the setting change? How do the character interact with the setting?
    3. Conflict: How does the problem develop?

  1. Resolution of the Problem (Climax): the point in the story where the problem may or may not be solved.

  1. Denouement (Falling Action):
    1. Character: Do the characters change? How do the characters react to the problem being solved (on not)?
    2. Setting: How does the setting change?
    3. Is the Conflict still present? How much has changed?

  1. Conclusion: How does the story end?
    1. Realistically
    2. Not realistically (a fairy tale ending)
    3. Inconclusive (Sequel?)

Elements of the Short Story Worksheet:

Tips for Writing a Short Story:

1. Have a clear theme. What is the story about? That doesn't mean what is the plot line, the sequence of events or the character's actions, it means what is the underlying message or statement behind the words. Get this right and your story will have more resonance in the minds of your readers.
2. An effective short story covers a very short time span. It may be one single event that proves pivotal in the life of the character, and that event will illustrate the theme.
3. Don't have too many characters. Each new character will bring a new dimension to the story, and for an effective short story too many diverse dimensions (or directions) will dilute the theme. Have only enough characters to effectively illustrate the theme.
4. Make every word count. There is no room for unnecessary expansion in a short story. If each word is not working towards putting across the theme, delete it.
5. Focus. The best stories are the ones that follow a narrow subject line. What is the point of your story? Its point is its theme. It's tempting to digress, but in a 'short' you have to follow the straight and narrow otherwise you end up with either a novel beginning or a hodgepodge of ideas that add up to nothing.

Short Stories that we will be working on in ELA:

Other Short Stories that we are working on: