The Short Story

“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.” – Edgar Allan Poe

The short story as a literary art form is more alive than ever before; yet, what it is, its abiding and universal structure is still debated.  I've learned that the short story structure puts point and ripple, the moment and timelessness.

"In the short story there is a feeling of point," explained Eli Siegel, " which changes into something that takes on a wider and wider meaning....The short story is supposed to have a point, and then is supposed to ripple out; in fact, we can imagine a good story being like a stone thrown into a lake in 1906 and it's still rippling out..." 

 It was Edgar Allen Poe in the 19th century who first elucidated a theory of the short story. But it was Siegel who solidified its working definition.  Click here for a discussion of Washington Irving's story, The Stout Gentleman. 

And click here for an understanding of Ernest Hemingway's famous story, A Soldiers Home. Eli Siegel's definition of the short story is the basis of Avi Gvili's collection, Life & Love & the Like: Stories from the Everyday, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and wherever books are sold worldwide.