A short story constitutes a specific genre – a short, epic, prosaic form of narrative. A successful and well-structured short story presents a squeeze and tightly knit plot in which the collides lead promptly to a major crisis for the character. One more fundamental feature is the focus on the one to three main personalities and their developments. Due to the conciseness of the plot, authors should find the most convenient and satisfying details, which should revitalize readers’ imagination. Such features provide the readers the whole image of the situation in a rather brief form, but mentioned aspects help to fulfill the grasp and feel of the story.
Three Significant Features of a Successful Story
The most problematic aspect of short stories is the ability to share the author’s emotions, feelings, and experience using the minimum of the eventual tools of story-telling. A successful story should carefully describe the main character, fit the significant reflections in a compressed plot and maximize the use of details to compensate for the missing dialogues and plot narratives.
Few Main Characters
Commonly, short stories have one to three main characters. In “Sonny’s Blues,” the author portrays mainly the protagonist-antagonist type of characters with controversial attitude. The story by James Baldwin is the heart of the civil rights revolution, and the main characters described the insufferable darkness of times in which they were born and lived the whole life. “All they really knew were two darkness’s, the darkness of their lives, which was now closing in on them” (Baldwin, 1998). Such descriptions contribute the sufferings and thoughts of the author or people close to him, which remains to be one of the most significant literature tools – emotional personification.
The Compressed Plot
Another essential aspect is the compressed plot of the short story. After the crucial moment in the narrative, there is no possibility to overthink the accident, and the characters should lead their way through with confidence. The critical moment in “Sonny’s Blues” is the death of the main character’s child and, as a consequence, his decision to return to another close person in his life, his brother Sonny.
The Significant Details
The details are the most suitable way to shorten the description and point out the significant things at once. In “Sonny’s Blues,” my attention was caught by the description of the traveling on cab on “the vivid, killing streets of our childhood,” as the narrator described it (Baldwin, 1998). The attitude of the author illustrated in the speech and emotions of the narrator demanded the attention of the reader and the entering into emotional baggage of the characters.
A successful short story should have an impact on people and bring comprehension of the related story using minimum possible literature tools and features. As noted, great authors were and still are outstanding in their professional skills and ability to touch the reader’s soul with the help of short stories.
Baldwin, J. (1998). Early novels and stories: Go tell it on the mountain; Giovanni’s room; Another country; Going to meet the man. Library of America.