Characteristics of a Short Story

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The success of a short story depends on its compressed plot, intensive use of details, and emphasis on a single character. This creates a world that captivates the reader within a few paragraphs. The compressed plot is the most defining element of a successful story, as it introduces key components in a limited space. Alice Munro’s Royal Beatings is an example of a story that uses a compressed plot to its advantage. The story’s success also depends on the intensive use of details, which creates a world the reader can imagine. Munro’s carefully chosen words provide specific details that give a sharper focus to the story. When a compressed plot and intensive use of details come together, it creates a joyous reading experience.

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The defined characteristics of a short story can determine whether it will be successful or unsuccessful in a brief amount of time.

Short stories typically possess several characteristics that enhance their impact and attractiveness. These include a compressed plot, abundant details, and emphasis on a solitary character (Kanne, 6). These elements collaborate to engage the reader swiftly through concise sentences or paragraphs. The ensuing sections will explore the significance of a compacted plot and copious details in forging an engaging short story. A condensed plot serves as the defining factor for a triumphant tale.

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A short story is a condensed form of storytelling, often presenting elements of a plot in a limited space. Alice Munro’s Royal Beatings serves as an example, as it introduces key plot components, such as foreshadowing a royal beating, within a brief 10-page narrative.

Flo made a promise. She said, “You are going to get one royal beating” (1220). Throughout the story, we see a glimpse of the relationship between the stepmother and daughter and the environment that influences it. Eventually, we reach the climax of the story which is the beating: “He violently shakes her and forcefully hits her against the wall. He also kicks her leg.

She is incoherent, insane, and shrieking. Please forgive me! Oh, please forgive me!” (1232). We are then informed of a coming resolution: “Perhaps tomorrow morning, possibly even tonight. Although it may seem unseemly and unlikely.

Despite their embarrassing behavior, the characters seem to feel a mixture of reluctance and satisfaction. Alice Munro’s skilled use of descriptive language not only creates a vivid world for readers to imagine, but also allows for a broad understanding of the story while providing specific details for a sharper focus.

The text presents a glimpse into the poverty of the town, with a single streetlight and deteriorating amenities. The description of a lung blood clot evokes the sensation of a boiled egg with the shell intact, illustrating the pain it causes. The final paragraph captures the emotions in the room as Rose reminisces about the past. These characteristics contribute to the challenging but crucial elements that contribute to the success of a short story.

A compressed plot requires the story to unfold within a limited scale, while intensive details are used to depict the environment and meaning of the story. When these two elements converge, as seen in Alice Munro’s Royal Beating, reading through it becomes a delightful experience.

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Characteristics of a Short Story. (2018, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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