National Short Story Day

December 21st is the shortest day of the year – er, in the northern hemisphere anyway. And, in a fitting gesture, it has been dubbed National Short Story Day – do go and check out the central website.

We love short stories here at Year Zero, and on this site there are well over a hundred fantastic short stories to tickle anyone’s fancy. Browse at leisure.

This occasion, and several things in the blogosphere recently have made me wonder more and more: what is a short story? As opposed to flash fiction? As opposed to a novel? Or a novella?

I think I’m happy how the novella fits in – a distillation of a single idea, relentlessly pursued. But a short story? I’ve yet to read a definition that makes any sense at all. Is there one?

All I know is I love them. So, share your thoughts on what a short story is, tell us your favourites, and get involved with National Short Story Day.

~ by yearzerowriters on December 20, 2010.

3 Responses to “National Short Story Day”

  1. I do not think there is one definition of what a short story is. It is one of those thongs that one just *knows* when it happens. It is concise but full of words that resonate in one’s head and allow for daydreams to spring up.

    The maestra of short stories for me is Annie Proulx. Just so very much much packed into so few words.

  2. Thanks. Somany people mention her, but to my shame I’ve still not read any. Something to rectify for the New Year!

  3. Short stories are nice because they’re not novels. They’re not even mini-novels as some people think. They are their own art form.

    I don’t subscribe to one narrow definition of what makes them, but several narrow definitions combined can describe them.

    For Frank O’Connor, the short story was about the great unsaid. For Joyce, the short story was about the moment of epiphany. And we could list dozens of conflicting attempts at definition.

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