Short story

A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a "single effect" or mood, however there are many exceptions to this.

A dictionary definition is "an invented prose narrative shorter than a novel usually dealing with a few characters and aiming at unity of effect and often concentrating on the creation of mood rather than plot."[1]

The short story is a crafted form in its own right. Short stories make use of plot, resonance, and other dynamic components as in a novel, but typically to a lesser degree. While the short story is largely distinct from the novel or novella (a shorter novel), authors generally draw from a common pool of literary techniques.

Short story writers may define their works as part of the artistic and personal expression of the form. They may also attempt to resist categorization by genre and fixed formation.

Short stories have deep roots and the power of short fiction has been recognised in modern society for hundreds of years. The short form is, conceivably, more natural to us than longer forms. We are drawn to short stories as the well-told story, and as William Boyd, the award-winning British author and short story writer has said:

[short stories] seem to answer something very deep in our nature as if, for the duration of its telling, something special has been created, some essence of our experience extrapolated, some temporary sense has been made of our common, turbulent journey towards the grave and oblivion.[2]

In terms of length, word count is typically anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 for short stories, however some have 20,000 words and are still classed as short stories. Stories of fewer than 1,000 words are sometimes referred to as "short short stories", or "flash fiction".[3]


21st-century short story writers run into the thousands.

Global sales of short story fiction are still going strong. In the UK sales jumped 45% in 2017, driven by collections from international names such as Alice Munro, new writers to the genre such as Tom Hanks, and the revival of short story salons, such as those held by short fiction company, Pin Drop Studio.[4]

More than 690,000 short stories and anthologies were sold in the UK in 2017, generating £5.88 million, the genre's highest sales since 2010.[5]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kortverhaal
العربية: قصة قصيرة
aragonés: Cuento
asturianu: Cuentu
Avañe'ẽ: Mombe'urã
azərbaycanca: Hekayə
বাংলা: ছোটগল্প
Banjar: Kisah handap
башҡортса: Хикәйә
беларуская: Апавяданне
български: Разказ
Boarisch: Kuazgschicht
bosanski: Pripovijetka
brezhoneg: Danevell
català: Conte
čeština: Povídka
Cymraeg: Stori fer
dansk: Novelle
davvisámegiella: Novealla
Ελληνικά: Διήγημα
español: Cuento
Esperanto: Novelo
euskara: Ipuin
français: Nouvelle
Gaeilge: Gearrscéal
galego: Conto
贛語: 短篇小說
한국어: 단편소설
հայերեն: Պատմվածք
हिन्दी: लघुकथा
hrvatski: Kratka priča
Ido: Novelo
Bahasa Indonesia: Cerita pendek
íslenska: Smásaga
italiano: Racconto
עברית: סיפור קצר
ქართული: მოთხრობა
kaszëbsczi: Òpòwiôdanié
қазақша: Әңгіме
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Kreyòl ayisyen: Nouvèl
kurdî: Kurteçîrok
Кыргызча: Новелла
Ladino: Konseja
Latina: Diegema
latviešu: Stāsts
lietuvių: Apsakymas
македонски: Расказ
മലയാളം: ചെറുകഥ
Bahasa Melayu: Cerita pendek
Nederlands: Kort verhaal
日本語: 短編小説
нохчийн: Дийцар
norsk: Novelle
norsk nynorsk: Novelle
Patois: Shaat tuori
polski: Opowiadanie
português: Conto
română: Povestire
Runa Simi: Willakuy
русиньскый: Повѣданя
русский: Рассказ
саха тыла: Кэпсээн
shqip: Tregimi
sicilianu: Nutizzia
සිංහල: කෙටිකතාව
Simple English: Short story
slovenčina: Poviedka
slovenščina: Kratka zgodba
српски / srpski: Приповетка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Novela
suomi: Novelli
svenska: Novell
தமிழ்: சிறுகதை
తెలుగు: తెలుగు కథ
Türkçe: Hikâye
українська: Оповідання
Tiếng Việt: Truyện ngắn
吴语: 短篇小说
粵語: 短篇小說
žemaitėška: Apsakīms
中文: 短篇小说