A short story is a fictional work of prose that is shorter than a novel. It focuses on one particular theme that is presented through a structured plot with a specific setting and few characters.
A good story consists of the following elements.
- The setting refers to the time and place a story happened. It answers the basic questions when and where. The time and place are also used by the writer to set the mood (atmosphere) of the story.
- The characters are the people or animals who have roles in a short story. They give life to the story. Usually, the characters are divided into two groups: major and minor characters.
The story centers on the major characters. These characters may be further categorized into protagonist and antagonist.
The protagonist is the leading or principal character in a story. He/ She is used usually good in nature but is sometimes flawed too. The protagonist faces a major conflict in the story and tries to resolve it in the end. On the other hand, an antagonist is the opposite of the protagonist. He/ She usually causes the conflict in the story.
- The plot is the series of events in a story. The plot has five equally important parts.
- Beginning action or introduction
It presents the initial event in the story. The author usually introduces the setting and characters in this part.
- Rising action
The major conflict or problem is revealed in this part. As the story progresses, the problem gets more complicated. This may also be the part when the protagonist and antagonist struggle with each other.
It refers to the turning point of the story. The protagonist does something to resolve the conflict. Major twists take place, secrets are revealed, questions are answered, and the biggest decisions are made. This is the most exciting and interesting part of the story.
- Falling action
These are the events right after the climax and right before the ending. Problems start to get resolved. In this part of the plot, thins begin to fall into the right place.
It is the final event in the story. The conflict is already solved, and the mood of the story becomes light and happy once more. However, there are also sad endings where the author ends the story abruptly leaving it to the readers to guess what actually happened next.
- The theme pertains to the central idea that the author wants to tell the readers. It usually presents common truths or realities about human nature and life in general. The moral lesson of the story is drawn from the theme.