Less Is More Some say that short stories are pointless, who could possibly write a story in just 55 words and it make sense? Well it has been done and it works quite well! It takes an author of great skill to be able to put so much information into such a small piece of writing, to be able to fit in all the necessities. These authors have their own genre of writing. Some of these amazing authors include Lydia Davis, Margaret Atwood, and Terry L. Tilton. These are just a few of the outstanding brains behind some of the best short stories ever written.
Not only do these authors use the lack of words in such a way to make the reader more involved in the outcome of the story, they also use fewer words to be more dramatic, and to leave you with questions. In the short story “That Settles That“, Terry L. Tilton uses 55 words to complete an entire story. Here it is, Tom was a handsome, fun-loving young man, albeit a bit drunk when he got into the argument with Sam, his roommate of just two months. ‘You can’t. You can not write a short story in just 55 words, you idiot? ’ Sam shot him dead on the spot. Oh yes you can,’ Sam said, smiling. This story is outstanding! It shows how much can be said in just a few words and leaves so many blanks for the reader to fill in. Some may look at this as being lazy, to leave so much for the reader to figure out on their own, however, for someone to conduct a story in 55 words that make sense, that is total genus! These authors that create these masterpieces know that a lot of readers prefer to be more active as they read. They like to read between the lines, look underneath the text.
Feature Article – Short Story The Plane of the Sleeping Beauty
These readers are very common and the authors know this, they know that their target audience are those who feel as if they are included in the writing process, that they get to decide what people look like and what they wear. They like to have the ability to make these decisions based upon the surrounding text, the information that the author does give. Stories like this one, give the reader the chance to work their brains, not just read the plain text for face value. This is a huge reason that short stories are important, they let active readers give their brain the work out it needs! Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood is very dramatic. This short story is all about different ways to write a happy ending, although these ways involve extraneous situations involving lives that do not end happily, and in the end, no matter what, the main characters end up dying. A short story has to be more dramatic, more things need to happen in a short amount of time so the reader doesn’t get all the extra information. Think about it as if it is a Thanksgiving dinner, you don’t get all the stuffing and mashed potatoes, just the turkey, that’s all you have time for!
These writers know that they only have a short amount of space to write in everything that they need so they want the big meaty pieces in there so it makes a huge impact! Lydia Davis beautifully wrote “Letter to a Funeral Parlor“. This short story is a letter that someone composed about their father passing away and the funeral parlor using the word “Cremains” to describe him. Lyndia Davis says, “Then we were sitting there in our chairs in the living room trying not to weep in front of your representative who… referred to [my father] as ‘the cremains’”.
This shows Davis’ ability to pull at the readers heart strings and make a point. This is a wonderfully written piece and it does exactly what a short story should do! Not only does it use a lack of words to have the readers fill in the blanks themselves but she also writes in a dramatic way. She is very to the point. She also does the final thing that is conveyed within short stories, she leaves you with questions. This is an amazing thing to do, as it leaves the readers wondering. Sometimes there are sequels to short stories and other times it is just another way to get the reader more involved.
This give the reader another chance to fill in the blanks. Like in the Letter to a Funeral Parlor, it does not speak of how the father dies, nor does it talk about where they are from or what the people look like. These are all questions the author leaves the readers with, to think about. Readers enjoy reading short stories because they are something different from novels. Some people don’t want to have a book that takes a week or longer to read, some people don’t have attention spans that will last through an entire book.
Those people want something they can read in 30 seconds or a half hour depending on if it’s a short short or not. Just because someone is a reader who prefers to read something short does not make then any worse or a reader that someone who likes 1000 page novels. It is all in the preference of the reader. Reading a short story is a good idea for readers because it gives you more options of reading. They are there for the readers who like to figure things out on their own. Short stories are amazing to read.
They always leave you with something to think about. These essays are difficult to construct because of the amount of information that needs to be in such a small piece of writing. That is why the authors that do create these pieces of work are to be applauded because not everyone can do it. In a short story the author lets the reader be an active reader, filling in all the extra blanks and details. Short story authors also use fewer words to be dramatic. The less space you have to write, the fewer useless details and things that you will have.
Therefore, the whole content is the important meat. This makes it so that the points are not drawn out, it creates a more climactic piece of work. These authors also leave their readers with questions. This creates the ability to keep the readers intrigued. Short story authors are amazing at what they do, someone like Terry L. Tilton, who has the ability to write a story in 55 words, should be commended or what they do. Works Cited Meyer, Michael, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 9th ed. Boston: St Martins, 2008. Print. Works Cited Knight