Stories are amusing in many ways. There can be a story in a single sentence, in fact, even in a single word, or it go on to 300 pages or more. The truth is every minute of our lives can be a full story – every laughter and tear, and sometimes, silence itself is a story. Here are some examples of short stories you can get inspiration from for your next narrative:
Etgar Keret portrayed a full thought and spun a seemingly peaceful story to a real-life situation within one paragraph. Stories does not have to begin with mornings and sunshine, it can start at any time of the day. You, as the author or narrator, have the full control on the elements of your own short story.
Suddenly, A Knock on the Door
By Etgar Keret, Guernica, 2012
I try to explain to the bearded man that if he puts his pistol away it will only work in his favor, in our favor. It’s hard to think up a story with the barrel of a loaded pistol pointed at your head. But the guy insists. “In this country,” he explains, “if you want something, you have to use force.” He just got here from Sweden, and in Sweden it’s completely different. Over there, if you want something, you ask politely, and most of the time you get it. But not in the stifling, sultry Middle East. All it takes is a single week around here to figure out how things work—or rather, how things don’t work. The Palestinians asked for a state, nicely. Did they get one? The hell they did. So they switched to blowing up kids on buses, and people started listening.
A short narrative or short story can also be in form of a poem. In fact, Dante Alighieri’s most popular work, The Divine Comedy, is a poem. No matter what topic or theme you are underscoring in writing your story, you have to ensure to keep your reader’s attention.
Why Kindness Matters
There is this little coffee mug. /
Someone poured a drink that is a little too hot for the craft. /
It formed a crack. /
And though the drink was finished, the crack remained. /
Although invisible, there it remained. /
A few minutes later, someone poured a drink that is a little too cold for the mug to take. /
By law of nature, the mug had another crack. /
Again, although the drink was finished, the cracks remained. /
They are indeed hard to notice. /
But, there they remained. /
It formed a free pattern. /
To someone who poured the drink, they are just little cracks. /
To the coffee mug, it is the beginning of falling apart. /
It can hold up, sure. However… /
Remember that they too, although imperceptible, are actual cracks. /
If not tended properly, the little mug shall break into pieces. /
To pieces that can never be glued back. /
And even if you can... /
The little mug won't be as it was. /
This is the power of words. /
This is trust. /
This is love. /
You see... /
One can only take that much. /
Sure one is sturdy... /
But, another scalding hot or a cold harsh word; /
It will just be like dropping the mug. /
You will shatter it to pieces. /
To pieces you can never put back. /
Stories are everywhere. An old man sitting alone on a bench in a lovely afternoon, a little boy running through the streets, clutching a can of milk, or a lone young woman ordering two cups of coffee late at night. Our minds are given the power to create stories in what we see – it can create a flash fiction inspired by reality.
It had been a month since my bear of a big brother Frank came home after his last tour of duty. I always enjoyed it when he came home. Since he did not have a girlfriend and never had to worry about sharing money even if he was an adult already, he always treated me to our favorite ice cream place when we was home. He still lived with us. He had one wing of the house, I had the other, and Dad had the middle one. Dad didn’t quite believe in us having to move out upon reaching 18 or 21, whatever the legal age was, as he always said. He always reminded us that he had worked hard his whole life to build a home large enough for his two children to live in even if we both had gotten married and have our own families already.
Anyway, I hadn’t had the time to ask Frank out to go to the ice cream place because I had just started fourth grade and had been enjoying the company of my new biking friends. So whenever I got home, he would always look at me and with a knowing grin, ask me if I wanted ice cream or play video games. Up until this point I had always said no because I had been practicing to jump my brand new navy blue mountain bike with my new buddies. He won this time but I asked if we could have some fried chicken and burgers first and just have ice cream as dessert. An amused but baffled look came on his face and asked if Dad had been forgetting to give me money. I told him no, but that I had been having a hard time saving for that cool blue helmet just ten bucks away from my hands.
Whenever I bugged him about how his last tour went, he would always tell me that I was too young to understand but he would tell me anyway. I questioned him why he thought I was too young to understand war when I lorded over the competition on Call of Duty. In fact, I made the Nazis eat my dust. He answered that it was okay, that it was smooth. He added that despite the continuous rain of bombs miles away from their camp, neither he nor his team had had to use their M-16s because they hadn’t had to fight any enemies up close. While they hadn’t had to fire at the enemy, it was only the memory of the sound of mortars, bombs, grenades, gunfire that still gave him nightmares.
He said he felt really delighted about being home with family and that he would just make up for the lost time. It was good to hear Frank talk about how a soldier friend of his had been helping him during those nights when he could not sleep well because of the bomb sounds. I asked him if he could call his buddy up to join us and maybe we could play when we got home, but he said his buddy wasn’t a game nerd and only visited at night, through the backdoor of his wing of the house. I badly wanted to thank his buddy for visiting Frank. I also wanted to show him my new bike tricks, in case he was a bike fan. The afternoons in the ice cream place became more frequent, like three or four times a week and it went on for more than a month. And I had been getting the feel that my bike buddies had become familiar with my absence. I wanted to join them again but who could blame me? My brother was a soldier and he was a real soldier with real war stories to tell. This Friday afternoon, Frank was particularly happy, telling me that he had been sleeping well lately and that he and his buddy would have a few drinks in his wing tonight to celebrate his victory over those bad dreams. I told him I was happy for both of them and that if only I had been old enough to drink, I would join them, but Frank calmly replied that it was only soldiers, not bikers.
Later that night, I easily got bored with Call of Duty and killing Nazis and became sleepy. I figured it may have been because of the four ice cream mugs and six chicken wings I had which Frank poked fun at. Before I headed to my wing, I decided to peep on Frank and his buddy. I hoped they were quite drunk already so they would not notice me. It may have slipped their mind that there was still a window half-closed and as I headed towards it, it was clear from their voices that they were both drunk. Their laughter alternated and I discovered that Alan, funnily enough, was the name of his friend. As careful as a cat preparing to pounce on a mouse, I peered into the half-closed window and into Frank’s large room. I wanted to see if I could still talk to Alan before he went home. I saw that there was nobody in the room but Frank, staring at the mirror holding a beer mug half-filled. He whispered, talked, laughed and whimpered to himself in two very different voices, his eyes droopy yet clear. My mind went black and blank and I sped away.
A story does not have to be a fiction either, because your life is your personal narrative. You can tell your experiences with vivid descriptions to allow your readers to experience it through words. Beautify the language you use, so your readers will feel your emotion. Let them in into your world so they can imagine that single phenomenon as if it happened right before their eyes. That is how you share a good story.