Stay tuned to our new posts and updates! Click to join us on WhatsApp L&C-Whatsapp & Telegram telegram Channel
L&C-Silhouette Subscribe
The L&C-Silhouette Basket
L&C-Silhouette Basket
A hand-picked basket of cherries from the world of most talked about books and popular posts on creative literature, reviews and interviews, movies and music, critiques and retrospectives ...
to enjoy, ponder, wonder & relish!
Support LnC-Silhouette. Great reading for everyone, supported by readers. SUPPORT

Writing Short Stories

August 7, 2013

Of all forms of literature, the short story is perhaps the crest jewel of good writing. It is not too long and therefore ends before one’s attention is diverted to something else.

“A good short story is like a woman’s skirt. It should be long enough to conceal the essentials and short enough to draw attention to the details.”
– O Henry

How to write short story

As Rabindranath Tagore has so aptly said — a short story doesn’t end even when it ends.

Of all forms of literature, the short story is perhaps the crest jewel of good writing. It is not too long and therefore ends before one’s attention is diverted to something else.
It is also neither too short leaving the reader thirsting for more.

However, as every other form of writing, it should be absorbing, interesting and have an element of mystery in it. T S Elliot once said, “In my end is the beginning.” Herein is concealed a valuable tip for short story writers.

A short story should have a good beginning that not only sets the ground for the drama to unfold, but also has the seed of the final ending that the author has in mind within itself.
Yet surprisingly enough, every good ending that a short story has hangs in mystery. It ends and yet does not end and leads the reader into new avenues of thought and diverse layers of feelings.

As Rabindranath Tagore has so aptly said – a short story doesn’t end even when it ends.

The Beginning
Take care of the beginning and the story will take care of itself is an advice well worth heeding to. For example, O Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi” begins this way. “One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all.” The entire story revolves around true love against the dramatic setting of the financial crises of a couple who love each other intensely.

The fact that the lady of the story has only 1 dollar and 87 cents leads her to sell her most possession, her hair, to get enough money in order to buy a strap for the wrist-watch of her husband for Christmas.

It is very clear as the story progresses that she has struggled hard to collect the money and in the end, it is the inability to collect enough money to buy a gift that makes the protogonists of the story to give what they cherish most to procure the gifts each wants to give the other. It is a sacrifice of the highest order; one that communicates true love.

In other words the whole story revolve around the limited funds the couple have. But for this fiscal limitation, the story, “The Gift of the Magi” would not have any justifiable reason to be narrated. That gives us the cue. Note how a master short story writer like O Henry sets the start for a story and thus sets it on course to reach the surprise ending.

The Ending
Consider another one of O Henry’s stories — “The Last Leaf.” It begins with the protagonist of the story counting the falling leaves of an ivory creeper. The falling leaves are a metaphor for the fading signs of hope for the heroine of the story. Because she is a failure as an artist thus far in life, she considers herself a total faliure.

In the end, the stubborn will of a leaf refusing to fall from the creeper makes her gain hope and confidence and she recovers from her terminal illness. The illness, infact is a mask — the real disease is her psychological depression.

She identifies herself with the leaf, each one when it falls snaps something in her. But then comes one leaf that refuses to drop off. That is enough to lift her spirits. The reader is left wondering what falling leaves means to her and how it changes her attitude towards life.

It also provokes us to think. Are we also counting our days like the protagonist in the story or are we steadfastly clinging like the last leaf to the tree of life?

Silhouette Magazine is a platform for gathering myriad views on film (and allied art forms) and to continue with the flux of discourse. The Silhouette publications are our attempt to achieve this goal.
All Posts of LnC Silhouette Magazine

Hope you enjoyed reading...

... we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our creative, informative and analytical posts than ever before. And yes, we are firmly set on the path we chose when we started... our twin magazines Learning and Creativity and Silhouette Magazine (LnC-Silhouette) will be accessible to all, across the world.

We are editorially independent, not funded, supported or influenced by investors or agencies. We try to keep our content easily readable in an undisturbed interface, not swamped by advertisements and pop-ups. Our mission is to provide a platform you can call your own creative outlet and everyone from renowned authors and critics to budding bloggers, artists, teen writers and kids love to build their own space here and share with the world.

When readers like you contribute, big or small, it goes directly into funding our initiative. Your support helps us to keep striving towards making our content better. And yes, we need to build on this year after year. Support LnC-Silhouette with a little amount - and it only takes a minute. Thank you

Support LnC-Silhouette

Creative Writing

Got a poem, story, musing or painting you would like to share with the world? Send your creative writings and expressions to

Learning and Creativity publishes articles, stories, poems, reviews, and other literary works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers, artists and photographers as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers, artists and photographers are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Learning and Creativity- emagazine. Images used in the posts (not including those from Learning and Creativity's own photo archives) have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, free photo sites such as Pixabay, Pexels, Morguefile, etc and Wikimedia Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Today’s Motivation

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." ~ Albert Einstein