Thursday, 24 October 2013

Half-term Homework.

Hello guys and girls.

Over half-term I would like you to try and read as many short stories as you can. As an absolute minimum you should be able to manage 3. It won't take you long; they are short, and that is the beauty of them! As you read them I want you to take some notes on what makes a short story different from a regular novel. Try not to be too specific to each story; think generally. What do you notice about the types of character in short stories? What do you notice about the setting? What do you notice about the plot and how the action actually unfolds? Write a comment on this blog with at least 4 things you have noticed about short stories that distinguish them from regular length novels. 

"They are shorter" is not an acceptable answer!

Because I am a kind teacher I have scoured the internet and found a series of links that will take you to a whole load of short stories, so you don't even have to go hunting yourself (although you may wish to). Please see below.

Super Short Stories:

‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ – James Thurber 

‘The Tell Tale Heart’ – Edgar Allen Poe 

‘A Horseman in the Sky’ – Ambrose Bierce (Note: You might need a dictionary for this as there is some tricky vocab)

10 Short Stories

20 American Short Stories

Have a great half-term, and well done for all your hard work over the last 8 weeks.
Miss Wing


  1. Hey i read 5 short stories:
    What distinguishes short stories-
    -They have a simple easy to follow plot.
    -Less in depth.
    -Focus on one main character.
    -Only really has one setting and one plot.
    -One major event for the main character.
    -Quite a lot of dialogue.

  2. They are shorter.... (Only joking!)

    Short stories:
    1. They all seem to be noticeably repetitive- almost in a sequence to create more of a background to the story. As it isn't full length, it makes the writing able to tie together more.
    2 Something always seems to subtly foreshadow events; it's like the whole way through you're almost certain about the nature of the ending, or even the ending itself. They seem to do this by putting in small hints that don't seem to make much sense; often by using the actual properties of the writing e.g. rhythm, extended metaphor.
    3 Always seem to be in first person (well the ones I've read anyway.) It builds up the character and keeps the writing very opinionated, probably to keep the piece short.
    4 There seems to be quite a lot of description about certain items, but not much about the actual place setting (apart from basic facts.) Maybe to keep it quite relatable?

  3. To start with, they have less detail! There is less space within a short story, so descriptions are kept down to a minimum.
    Also, action sequences are a whole lot shorter, although many short stories do not have them.
    And due to their length, when reading, you tend to work your way through the plot very quickly.
    There is also a lack of characters with big parts, when in comparison to normal stories. This is due to the nature of the stories being so short, that instead they do without! Also within this, the characters do not tend to move between as many settings, because then the author has to then provide the reader with a description of the new setting!

    The main theme in short stories is usually good vs bad! And depending on whose view point the story is from, you are always looking at it from the good side! There might also be a series of short stories, all about the same battle or conflict, but from a series of different view points! One from each of the sides, or of different ranks on the same side, or just bystanders, and the main characters! But which ever view you read it from ,they are always telling it as if they are on the good side!

  4. the tell- tale heart.
    1. writes in first person
    2. uses rhetorical questions, bring you into the story
    3. short paragraphing
    4. running description of how they got to telling the story.

    the secret life of Walter Mity- James Thurber
    1. first line often starts with speech as the first word of the story
    2. one line paragraphs
    3. gets straight to the point
    4. no chapters

    a horseman in the sky- Ambrose Bierce
    1. 3-4 pages long
    2. most of the lines are made up of speech
    3. they use -- a lot in the story
    4. long detailed sentences

    Gemma Mortimer

  5. 1. The story is written about a single incident 2.should all be based in the same period of time 3. Able to read in one sitting 4. All information is relevant to the story being told 5. Once the story reaches a climax it's quickly brought to an end

  6. I read
    An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge - by Amrbose Bierce
    On the Gull's Road - by Willa Cather
    The Cactus - by O. Henry
    The Skylight Room - by O. Henry
    And one of the differences I noticed between these short stories and a novel is that short stories tend to focus on the main characters, whereas novels can focus on a multitude of characters, and relationships and go into more detail about them.
    Another differences is that the short stories are written to create a short but powerful impact, whereas the impact of a novel is drawn out for as long as possible, creating a deeper relationship with the reader.
    Something else that separates a short story and a novel is that short stories tend to focus on one main plot, while novels can have multiple plots and subplots.
    One other key differences between them is that short stories are brief and focussed, novels are more in depth and create and can give me detail.
    Those are just a few differences between a short story and a novel

  7. There is more detail, as there is less room to spread out the detail
    There is more suspense, as you can remember what has happened from the beginning
    The ones I've read, they seem to go over themselves a lot, as in they like to repeat one line once every 1-2 paragraphs
    They seem to, more often than not (and more often than full length novels), put you straight into the action
    Richard Howson (I'm using my other email)

  8. What makes a short story different from a regular novel? -

    There is a limited number of characters in a short story, whereas a regular novel normally contains a multitude of different characters. Short stories also tend to not hold a lot of information or description on the characters background/history.

    Short stories seem to keep a single setting throughout the plot where the action happens, rather than changing or having a number of setting that could correspond to the characters or emotions in the story like a regular novel.

    The plot of a short story is normally just a single plot and the information given throughout the story is all relevant to the story, rather than diverging and focusing on multiple incidents like a regular novel.

    The action unfolds fairly quickly after introducing the characters and the setting, it tends to be over a short time period and the intentions of the story are made present near to the beginning rather than towards the end. whereas in a regular novel it is not clear at first what the content of the story will contain and what sort of actions/climax will follow the introduction.

  9. miss, i believe that regular length novels usually cover a longer time span than short stories.
    Short stories also mainly stick to one ore two settings where as longer novels will cover more.
    short stories usually stick to one character at one time in there life where as novels will cover multiple character and go into more depth with their life.
    Finally short stories don't have major twits and complications to the character because there isn't enough time to go into depth.

  10. Because there isn't much writing the characters don't tend to have that much depth to them, they seem quite simple and easy to get to know.
    The writer also gives them a short introduction but you get to know them throughout the story.
    In the short story's the writer gets down to the main point or problem very quickly and sharply.
    The main plots of the story's are quite basic compared to a novel which has quite layered story lines.
    The writer try's to get the point across quicker because he has less time, with the short stories they don't deepen them so much they keep them exciting and keep you into them and occupied.

  11. Short stories focus on one or two characters and usually don't have any sub-plots as this would make them too long. A short story has an introduction, a lead up to a clearly recognisable climax, and normally, an abrupt ending. The setting can be vague as they focus on the story/plot. Finally, there tends to be one main theme that the story is centered around.

  12. 1.Short stories give an outline of the story at the beginning.
    2.They have lots of information crammed in them.
    3.They seem to have some sort of moral to them.
    4.They have basic intro,problem and solution sort of structure to them.

  13. The stories generally start very dramatically - the drama starts straight away to get the story moving quicker. They use powerful but simple description which keeps the story short. The setting isn't always made clear because I think the writer wants to leave it up to the reader's imagination. The dilemma of the story also starts fairly early to make the story more exciting in less words.

  14. Some features of short stories...

    Characters, and their backstories, often aren't fully explained or developed- generally the only information the reader has about them is what they can gather from the character's actions in the story.
    They generally don't end with a complete explanation and conclusion of the events in the story and leave lots for the reader to imagine for themselves.
    They often focus on one event, person or object, rather than telling a story about lots of things.
    Short stories often begin in the middle of the action, or with a short, interesting line that draws the reader in. Sometimes this line is repeated throughout the story, or used to end it.
    They are often based around one theme, or emotion, like fear, and might be written to create a single, specific effect.

    Bethan Humphreys

  15. 1) The stories tend to center around one character rather than multiple characters
    2) Takes place over a short amount of time
    3) Only relevant information is given
    4) Usually a plot twist in the last few sentences

  16. Short stories
    -Can be based around one character or incident
    -Should be able to be read all in one go
    -Limited characters
    -Interesting yet concise

  17. The secret life of walter mitty- James Thurber
    story has been written as dialogue
    its written in 2nd person
    short sentences
    setting is on a stormy day
    The tell- tale heart- Edgar Allen Poe
    Really short sentencs
    Little bit speech
    using personification to describe an eye
    1st person
    A horseman in the sky
    More detailed sentences
    Longer sentences
    The setting is what the story is about
    Setting is of war and military

  18. 1. The ones i've read have been very strange.
    2. They are quite vague.
    3. They don't develop characters much.
    4. They seem to describe the world around the character more than the character themself

  19. Common features of short stories -
    -Foreshadowing- gives clues
    -Suspense - makes you want to know what happen next
    -Repetition- put a point through
    -Small time period covered- days
    -Small amount of scene change -most of the story in one place
    -Characters not overly developed-no long life stories developed
    -Characters all interlink
    - About one incident
    - Once the climax is reaching the story finishes quickly- not much conclusion

  20. Short stories are different to actual novels and books; they have to entice the reader straight away and stay to the point- no lengthy descriptions with a lot of devices, just the necessary, well placed ones.

    Most short stories are narrated as if over looking the event or tale that is being told- like a presence over looking the past and commentating ( or summarising). This is just one type that you can read. (Joseph O'Connor described writers as watchers.)
    The narrator chooses to pick out several key events or points and links them together quickly. Or sometimes it's just brief key points with feelings attached- written like a monologue for a short film or audition tape of some sort. (Quite a few good short stories are about moments of sudden realisation which make a good monologue.) You come across a wild fire of emotions in some that seem to reflect a hormonal teenager and with some you get a very level headed report of something which reflects a business like nature.

    Most of the short stories I read were in past tense too- while writing a short story, staying in present tense is hard, I realised, so past tense is the best way to write one.

    There are other stories that begin and end with the same theme and have contents in the middle that help link together. Or a jigsaw of passages. These are effective if you want to have short paragraphs or a short collection as you can bounce between time periods and events. By the end you have a range of little anecdotes or snippets that can piece together.

    Some short stories don't have such sophisticated punctuation which is puzzling and yet it still works. For example, if somebody begins speaking and then a different person does afterwards all the speech is in the same paragraph- or sometimes there aren't commas or speech marks to indicate it is actual speech. This misuse of punctuation for speech is useful if recounting quickly and event. Also; there aren't always semi-colons, dashes or brackets as long sentences aren't really needed. This can create fast paced action and keep it concise and snappy.

    Names sometimes aren't used either; as if there's no time or to create an air of mystery. Sometimes you don't even know if somebody is a boy or a girl. There was also usually only one main character which meant other names were not needed.

    Short stories may almost seem like prologues- a snippet of action that acts to climax which you don't read as the story finishes. It leaves you wanting more or causes you to over think.

    A letter is often effective as a short story- letter's can mean so many things and can be intended for so many things. Love, hate, longing, depression, suicide or just an update. The writer of a short story, if setting it out as a letter, can afford to be more informal and become the narrator more with purposeful mispellings or lack of letters ( e.g in: goin' or 'eavy) to portray the accent.

    Overall, short stories are depicted as epiphanies- there's a song by Tori Amos called Little Earthquakes which is considered a good metaphor to short stories. They're like roller-coasters compared to novels being like theme parks.

  21. 1) They have quicker, fast-pasted story lines.
    2) They're more condense.
    3) The characters seem to be more well rounded, and easier to figure out although, they're more precise.
    4) The setting always seem to be different, interesting places, making the reader more interested as it's a short story. - Alex Marshall, Year 10.

  22. Short stories usually take place over a short timespan like a few days or weeks. They take place in an interesting setting that keeps the reader interested and the characters are usually much less complex and the storyline is more fast paced and less complex.