6 Genre Categories for Short Stories

*A guest post by Anne Martin
Alpha Omega Publications LAN 1008 The Short Story

 The toughest form of creative writing is writing a short story. You need to tell a tale in a minimal manner without taking too long to get to the point. Writing a short story is akin to creating your own world. You get to put what you want into this special world. It can have people, place and anything else you like. At the same time you have to ensure that the story unfolds well and you do not get sidelined with some rambling. Of course there is no prescribed word limit for a short story and it could be anything in length from a couple of pages to a short novella.In a full-length novel you have the opportunity to explore and develop the characters that you will populate the book with, you do not have the luxury of so many words in a short story. It takes skill to hold the reader’s attention in a short story and some masters like HH Munroe also known as Saki can switch the tale in the very last paragraph to head in a totally different direction from where the reader assumed it was headed. There are different genres that you can write a story in and here we discuss six of the most commonly used genre categories.

  1. Fantasy

In the fantasy genre a whole new world is created and populated by the author. The best example these days would be the Harry Potter series created by J. K. Rowling. The author made up a whole new parallel world for the witch community living side by side with “us muggles.” To capture the imagination of readers worldwide the way she did is truly the best gift an author can ask for.

  1. Science Fiction

In this genre it is the imagination of the author that lets us travel several years into the future. One of the masters of the short story in the science fiction genre would be Issac Asimov. This genius made a whole new future world come alive with his Foundation series. It follows the human race as it begins to populate the entire galaxy and beyond. Very intriguing and well written to the extent that you can almost believe it will happen.

  1. Humor

Laughter is the best medicine is a popular quote. A number of short stories take you into absurd and weird situations with their characters. They cannot but help make you laugh. These stories have no specific time frame or fantasy world. Most of them are based on real life situations that you are likely to face personally making it that much more identifiable for the reader. Personally I find PG Wodehouse the master of the satirical short story. His humor in the Jeeves series is subtle and you need to pay attention to get it.

  1. Mystery

The butler did it! A good murder mystery is difficult to come by in a short story, because it takes time for the crime scene to be built up, the various characters to be introduced and eventually the investigation leads to the killer in the climax. Here very often the author will throw up a surprise shifting the suspicion off the main suspect onto a sidelined character in the story.  Agatha Christie was indeed the murder mystery queen with her Hercule Poirot series and Miss Maple series.

  1. Horror

There are some strange breeds of people who actually find being shaken to shivers a form of entertainment. While I do not think being chilled to the bone is in any way enjoyable, Stephen King fans may disagree. The man has made an art form out of scaring reader with totally believable day-to-day scenarios turning into your worst nightmares.

  1. Romance

This would be the most popular type of short story being churned out these days, as it is the most subscribed to. Most common plot would be girl meets boy, they have problems that lead to separation and then after a few years they meet again leading to full-fledged romance with happy ending. There are too many authors in this genre for me to narrow it down to one particular master; however I do enjoy the work of Nora Roberts.

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