Examples of a Short Story

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.

Writing a short story may seem easy but the truth is, it is not and it will never be easy. Browsing through some short story examples, you might think it is just as casual as telling a story to a friend, but little did you know that there are a lot of elements to consider—the theme, the tone, and most importantly the fluidity of the story. For a short story to be successful, the transition between the events must be written smoothly, otherwise the readers might lose interest in reading your work. If you read several short stories closely, you will observe that they have one thing in common—upon reading you will not notice that you’re already towards the end of the story, that is because of its fluidity. Take a look at how these short story examples were written

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

March 2019

I

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. /

II

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. /

III

It formed a free pattern. /

IV

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. /

V

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. /

VI

This is the power of words. /

This is trust. /

This is love. /

VII

You see... /

One can only take that much. /

Sure one is sturdy... /

VIII

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. /

Short stories can take on many forms.
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.

War Hero

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.

Every Slice Is A Different Role

He’s about to rest after making pizza when suddenly, his phone rings.

"He’s always busy, you’ll never see him resting even when it is already midnight," cried grandma Roda. You can see how tired he is with his eyes but he still manages to put on a happy face in front of everyone. No one can ever comprehend how he manages to get all his work done and still have the time to play with the children.

47-year-old Edward Maldovis, owner of Cremaloba pizza parlor, wakes up at four in the morning everyday to start baking bread and pizza. He makes delicious bread and cupcakes which only cost 15 cents. After baking bread, he starts making his famous hotdog pizza which is sold for 20 cents each slice and is only exclusive for the students of a public school in front of his pizza parlor. The story behind this hotdog pizza is heartwarming.

He bakes this hotdog pizza to aid in solving malnourishment in the public school across his pizza parlor. Most of these children live in remote places, on hills across the rice field.

It is nine in the morning and the bell rings. Soon after, the students start to fill the pizza parlor. Edward turns the television on and switches the channel to some cartoons.

"I have been homeless myself and was only lucky enough to be adopted by a rich Chinese businessman. I know how hard it is to be deprived," said Edward while distributing his famous hotdog pizza. 

He is greatly admired by everyone around him.

James Lennett, a 21-year-old college student said "I came to uncle Ed asking for help in finding a job when I had to stop because I could no longer afford the cost of transportation from my house to my school. He said he is about to open a diner and asked me to find three more workers."

"I originally planned to build just a small stall to aid the teachers and the city council in solving malnourishment but a boy came to me asking for possible job recruitments and I thought, why not make a pizza parlor and help these out-of-school youths earn to support their education," Edward said.

It is 12 noon and his workers start to come. 17-year-old Eula Canes, 18-year-old Denmark Canes, and 21-year-old James Lennett all came from school.

It is time for Edward to rest when suddenly, his phone rings. 

He has been requested by a nun to go to the airport, a two hour drive away from his store in order to fetch a priest at three in the afternoon.

"I still serve to the convent and to the church. When my father died and our house got ruined by the hurricane, I lost the will to live. I attempted to commit suicide but I was saved by the words of a nun," Edward said.

He has been serving as a personal driver and assistant to the nuns for the past 17 years. He donates his earnings from Cremaloba to the church and to charity events of the congregation.

He seems tired but happy while driving the car. He rolls the car windows down and breathes the fresh air of the province. "I am never leaving this place," he says.

The priest arrives, he gives uncle Ed a hug. "Ed, I am always delighted to see you," said Fr. Bryan.

After accompanying the priest to the church, his phone rings again.

"We ran out of tomato sauce for the pizza, I have to go buy on the way home," uncle Ed said.

It is already eight in the evening when he arrives back to Cremaloba. His workers have already closed the pizza parlor.

He makes his coffee and sits, finally he can get some rest. After finishing his coffee, he goes back to the kitchen and takes the baking tools and ingredients. 

"I have to bake a cake for my niece, it is her birthday tomorrow," said uncle Ed.

His body seems tired but his eyes are always happy.

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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.

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