Short stories have been around since ancient times. They are a means of transmitting ideas, moral lessons, history and culture. They can vary in length and be in different forms. Older types of short stories used to be in rhymed verse. The early storyteller relied on known cultural phrases, fixed rhythms and rhyme. One of the earliest narratives was the Babylonian tale The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was in verse. Well known historical tales that have been passed down are The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and A Thousand and One Nights.
A couple of centuries ago short stories appeared in magazines and helped many writers to gain recognition. Charles Dickens was well known through his serialized stories. Short stories became mirrors of society, and culture and ideas were reflected in them. Their entertainment value became realized through master storytellers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Anton Chekov and Edgar Allan Poe. Poe became known as the creator of the detective story and the horror story. His stories were excellent at bringing out mood, characterization and setting. Of course, in Europe and abroad other writers were following suit with their realistic tales like Rudyard Kipling and his tales from The Jungle Book. Today, many writers let their readers know their writing through short stories before they introduce them to their novels.
For more on the origins and background of the short story, please refer to the following links:
Short stories cannot spend time on too much background and details like in a novel. They are compact, so every word and phrase must be of value. The short story uses literary techniques that are used in other types of writings while containing the story, and usually it evokes one single effect or mood. Many short stories have actually been made into short movies or even feature length movies like The Lottery, Total Recall, Brokeback Mountain and Children of the Corn. And some short stories have led to expansion into novels.
The following are some great short stories I have read and reviewed, most of them are by WMD members. So, please click on the link to read my reviews:
Kidnapped Writer by Eve Gaal demonstrates the power of the printed word to change lives:
Billy the Kid by Cyn Bagley takes us into a paranormal world where we learn more about Native American culture while experiencing an adventurous tale:
Absorbed by Penelope Crowe shows us the power of a cursed necklace:
Red Gone Bad by Lucy Pireel does a dark twist on known fairy tales:
Elizabeth Kolodziej’s novella Salvaged Pieces of a Werewolf Lost follows in depth minor characters from her previous novels where we are transported to Japan:
Storm Chaser Shorts by Mark R. Hunter explores more stories and backgrounds based on loveable characters from his novel Storm Chaser:
Big Red by Lorraine Sears surprisingly shows us a different side of the Devil:
Soulless Light by Joann Buchanan takes us back to the days of Crusaders and how a wronged soul has its revenge:
Holy Devil by Lorelei Bell examines the unusual power that Rasputin held over people:
Wishes and Promises by Charlotte Holley explores the deep love and relationship between a little girl and her travelling military father:
Enjoy and good reading!