2000 Word Essay On 145street Short Stories


We believe that the key to writing good short stories is reading good short stories.

Below, we have provided an ever-expanding selection of old and new short stories that are free to download. 

Short story writers are listed alphabetically.


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Anderson, Sherwood ‘The Dumb Man’ (c. 500 words)

Ade, George ‘The Collision’ (c. 1500 words)

Ade, George ‘The Divine Spark’ (c. 1000 words)

Ade, George ‘The Juvenile and Mankind’ (c. 500 words)

Antsey, F. ‘Marjory’ (c. 8500 words)

 

B

Baldwin, James ‘Bruce and the Spider’ (c. 500 words)

Baldwin, James ‘The Bell of Atri’ (c. 500 words)

Baldwin, James ‘Casablanca’ (c. 500 words)

Baldwin, James ‘Antonio Canova’ (c. 1000 words)

Baldwin, James ‘Arnold Winkelried’ (c. 500 words)

Baldwin, James ‘Doctor Goldsmith’ (c. 500 words)

Baldwin, James ‘The Endless Tale’ (c. 1000 words)

Balzac, Honore de ‘The Conscript’ (c. 6000 words)

Balzac, Honore de ‘Innocence’ (c. 1000 words)

Balzac, Honore de ‘The Devil’s Heir’ (c. 6500 words)

Bierce, Ambrose ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek’ (c. 3000 words)

Bierce, Ambrose ‘Oil of Dog’ (c. 1500 words)

Brown, Alice ‘Bankrupt’ (c. 7500 words)

Brown, Alice ‘Heartease’ (c. 3500 words)

Brown, Alice ‘The Advocate’ (c. 4500 words)

Brown, Alice ‘The End of All Living’ (c. 7000 words)

 

 

C

Chekhov, Anton ‘The Bet’ (c. 3000 words)

Chekhov, Anton ‘The Lottery Ticket’ (c. 2000 words)

Chekhov, Anton ‘About Love’ (c. 4000 words)

Chekhov, Anton ‘An Actor’s End’ (c. 2500 words)

Chekhov, Anton ‘Art’ (c. 2500 words)

Chekhov, Anton ‘An Avenger’ (c. 2000 words)

Chesterton, G. K. ‘The Blue Cross’ (c. 7500 words)

Chesterton, G. K. ‘The Bottomless Well’ (c. 6500 words)

Chesterton, G. K. ‘The Eye of Apollo’ (c. 6000 words)

Chesterton, G. K. ‘The God of Gongs’ (c. 6000 words)

Chesterton, G. K.  ‘The Hammer of God’ (c. 6500 words)

Chesterton, G. K. ‘The Purple Wig’ (c. 5500 words)

Collins, Willie ‘A Fair Penitent’ (c. 4500 words)

Conrad, Joseph ‘An Anarchist’(c. 8500 words)

Crane, Stephen ‘A Desertion’ (c. 1500 words)

 

D

Defoe, Daniel ‘The Apparition of Mrs Veal’ (c. 3500 words)

De Mille, James ‘The Artist of Florence’ (c. 7000 words)

De Quincey, Thomas ‘Love-Charm’ (c. 13,000 words)

De Quincey, Thomas ‘The Avenger’ (c. 19,000 words)

Dickens, Charles ‘The Black Veil’ (c. 4500 words))

Dickens, Charles ‘Criminal Courts’ (c. 2000 words)

Dickens, Charles ‘Down with the Taid’ (c. 4000 words)

Dickens, Charles ‘The Ghost of Art’ (c. 2500 words)

Dickens, Charles ‘The Baron of Grogswig’ (c. 4000 words)

Dickens, Charles ‘The Child’s Story’ (c. 2000 words)

Dahl, Roald ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ (c. 3000 words)

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor ‘The Dreams of a Ridiculous Man’ (c. 8500 words)

 

E

Eliot, T. S. ‘Eeldrop and Appleplex’ (c. 3000 words)

Eggleston, Edward ‘A Basement Story’ (c. 6500 words)

Eggleston, Edward ‘Adventures in Alaska’ (c. 1500 words)

Eliot, George ‘Brother Jacob’ (c. 17,000 words)

 

F

Field, Eugene ‘Daniel and the Devil’ (c. 3000 words)

Field, Eugene ‘Death and the Soldier’ (c. 1500 words)

Flaubert, Gustave ‘The Dance of Death’ (c. 3000 words)

Freeman, Mary‘A New England Nun’ (c. 5000 words)

 

G

Galsworthy, John ‘The Knight’ (c. 13,000 words)

Galsworthy, John ‘The Stoic’ (c. 30,000 words)

Goldsworthy, John ‘The Silence’ (c. 8000 words)

Goethe, Johann ‘New Paris’ (c. 5500 words)

Gogol, Nikolai ‘The Clash’ (c. 4500 words)

Gaskell, Elizabeth‘An Accursed Race’ (c. 6500 words)

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (c. 6000 words)

Greene, Graham ‘The End of the Party’ ( c. 3500 words)

Gissing, George ‘A Capitalist’ (c. 5500 words)

Gissing, George ‘The House Of Cobwebs’ (c. 8000 words)

Gissing, George ‘The Salt of the Earth’ (c. 4000 words)

 

H

Hardy, Thomas ‘The Grave by the Handpost’ (c. 4000 words)

Hardy, Thomas ‘The Three Strangers’ c. 8500 words)

Harte, Bret ‘An Heiress of a Red Dog’ (c. 5500 words)

Harte, Bret ‘Under Karl’ (c. 6500 words)

Harte, Bret ‘Who Was My Quiet Friend?’ (c. 3000 words)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel ‘The Wedding-Knell’ (c. 3000 words)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel ‘The Ambitious Guest’ (c. 3500 words)

Henry, O ‘The Gift of the Magi’ (c. 2000 words)

 

I

Irving, Washington ‘Conspiracy of the Cocked Hats’ (c. 2000 words)

Irving, Washington ‘Little Britain’ (c. 5000 words)

Irving, Washington ‘The Bermudas’ (c. 2500 words)

Irving, Washington ‘The Birds of Spring’ (c. 2000 words)

Irving, Washington ‘The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow’ (c. 12,000 words)

Ing, Charles ‘Tight Squeeze’ (c. 6000 words)

Ingelow, Jean ‘A Last Want’ (c. 8000 words)

Ingelow, Jean ‘The Prince’s Dream’ (c. 3500 words)

 

J

Jacobs, W. W. ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ (c. 4000 words)

James, M. R. ‘Lost Hearts’ (c. 4000 words)

Jerome, Jerome K. ‘The Man Who Did Not Believe In Luck’ (c. 3000 words)

Joyce, James ‘Araby’ (c. 2500 words)

Joyce, James ‘A Little Cloud’ (c. 5000 words)

Joyce, James ‘After the Race’ (c. 2000 words)

Joyce, James ‘An Encounter’ (c. 3500 words)

Joyce, James ‘Counterparts’ (c. 4000 words)

Joyce, James ‘Eveline’ (c. 2000 words)

Joyce, James ‘The Boarding House’ (c. 3000 words)

 

K

Kipling, Rudyard ‘How the Leopard got his Spots’ (c. 2000 words)

Kipling, Rudyard ‘Wireless’ (c. 6500 words)

Kipling, Rudyard ‘A Bank Fraud (c. 2500 words)

Kipling, Rudyard ‘Beyond the Pale’ (c. 2000 words)

King, Charles ‘Starlight Man’ (c. 9500 words)

King, Charles ‘Van’ (c. 8000 words)

 

L

Lawrence, D. H. ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ (c. 7500 words)

London, Jack ‘Aloha Oe’ (c. 2500 words)

London, Jack ‘The Story of Keesh’ (c. 3000 words)

London, Jack ‘How to Build a Fire’ (c. 7000 words)

Lovecraft, H. P. ‘The Cats of Ulthar’ (c. 1500 words)

Lovecraft, H. P. ‘The terrible Old Man’ (c. 1000 words)

 


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M

Mansfield, Katherine ‘The Stranger’ (c. 5000 words)

Mansfield, Katherine ‘The Garden Party’ (c. 5500 words)

Mansfield, Katherine ‘The Voyage’ (c. 3000 words)

Mansfield, Katherine ‘The Ideal Family’ (c. 2500 words)

Mansfield, Katherine ‘Miss Brill’ (c. 2000 words)

Mansfield, Katherine ‘The Singing Lesson’ (c. 2000 words)

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia ‘Eyes of a Blue Dog’ (c. 3000 words)

Maupassant, Guy de ‘The Kiss’ (c. 1500 words)

Munro, H. H. (SAKI) ‘The Mouse’ (c. 1500 words)

 

N

Nesbit, Edith ‘Acting for the Best’ (c. 4500 words)

Nesbit, Edith ‘Archibald the Unpleasant’ (c. 5000 words)

Nesbit, Edith ‘Billy the King’ (c. 5500 words)

Norris, Frank ‘A Deal in Wheat’ (c. 5000 words)

Norris, Frank ‘The Wife of Chino’ (c. 5500 words) 

Norris, Frank ‘Two Hearts That Beat as One’ (c. 4000 words)

 

O

Orwell, George ‘The Shooting of an Elephant’ (c. 2000 words)

Osbourne, Lloyd ‘Ben’ (c. 6000 words)

Osbourne, Lloyd ‘The Golden Castaways’ (c. 3500 words)

 

P

Parker, Dorothy ‘A Telephone Call’ (c. 2500 words)

Poe, Edgar Allan ‘The Imp of the Perverse’ (c. 2500 words)

Poe, Edgar Allan ‘The Angel of Odd’ (c. 4000 words)

Poe, Edgar Allan ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ (c. 2500 words)

Poe, Edgar Allan ‘The Black Cat’ (c. 4000 words)

Poe, Edgar Allan ‘Four Beasts in One’ (c. 3000 words)

Potter, Beatrix ‘Ginger and Pickles’ (c. 1000 words)

 

Q

Quiller-Couch, Arthur ‘Elisha’ (c. 1500 words)

Quiller-Couch, Arthur ‘The Burglary Club’ (c. 3000 words)

Quiller-Couch, Arthur ‘The Dark Mirror’ (c. 1000 words)

 

R

Roby, John ‘The Goblin Builders’ (c. 3500 words)

Ruskin, John ‘The King of the Golden River’ (c. 9000 words)

 

S

Skinner, Charles ‘The Barge of Defeat’ (c. 500 words)

Somyonov, S. T. ‘The Servant’ (c. 2000 words)

 

T

Twain, Mark ‘Luck’ (c. 2000 words)

Trollope, Anthony ‘George Walker at Suez’ (c. 8000 words)

Trollope, Anthony ‘Returning Home’ (c. 9000 words)

 

U

 

V

Van Dyke, Henry ‘Ashes of Vengeance’ (c. 500 words)

Van Dyke, Henry ‘The Art of Leaving Off’ (c. 2500 words)

Verne, Jules ‘A Drama in the Air’ (c. 7000 words)

 

W

Wells, H. G. ‘The Crystal Egg’ (c. 7000 words)

White, E. B. ‘The Door’ (c. 2000 words)

Wilde, Oscar ‘The Birth of the Infanta’ (c. 7500 words)

Williams, William Carlos ‘The Use of Force’ (c. 1500 words)

Woolf, Virginia ‘A Haunted House’ (c. 1000 words)

 

X

 

Y

Yeats, William Butler ‘Out of the Rose’ (c. 2500 words)

Yeats, William Butler ‘The Old Men of the Twilight’ (c. 2000 words)

Yeats, William Butler ‘The Twisting of the Rope’ (c. 3000 words)

Younger, Charlotte M. ‘The Last Fight in the Coliseum’ (c. 3000 words)

 

Z

Zola, Emile ‘Captain Burle’ (c. 11, 500 words)

Zola, Emile ‘The Flood’ (c. 8000 words)

 


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Trying to write a short story is the perfect place to begin your writing career.

Why?

Because it reveals many of the obstacles, dilemmas, and questions you’ll face when creating fiction of any length.

If you find these things knotty in a short story, imagine how profound they would be in a book-length tale.

Most writers need to get a quarter million clichés out of their systems before they hope to sell something.

And they need to learn the difference between imitating their favorite writers and emulating their best techniques.

Mastering even a few of the elements of fiction while learning the craft will prove to be quick wins for you as you gain momentum as a writer.

I don’t mean to imply that learning how to write a short story is easier than learning how to write a novel—only that as a neophyte you might find the process more manageable in smaller bites.

So let’s start at the beginning.

What Is a Short Story?

Don’t make the mistake of referring to short nonfiction articles as short stories. In the publishing world, short story always refers to fiction. And short stories come varying shapes and sizes:

  • Traditional: 1,500-5000 words
  • Flash Fiction: 500-1,000 words
  • Micro Fiction: 5 to 350 words

Is there really a market for a short story of 5,000 words (roughly 20 double-spaced manuscript pages)?

Some publications and contests accept entries that long, but it’s easier and more common to sell a short story in the 1,500- to 3,000-word range.

And on the other end of the spectrum, you may wonder if I’m serious about short stories of fewer than 10 words (Micro Fiction). Well, sort of.

They are really more gimmicks, but they exist. The most famous was Ernest Hemingway’s response to a bet that he couldn’t write fiction that short. He wrote: For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.

That implied a vast backstory and deep emotion.

Writing a compelling short story is an art, despite that they are so much more concise than novels. Which is why I created this complete guide:

9 Steps to Writing a Short Story

1. Read as Many Great Short Stories as You Can Find

Read hundreds of them—especially the classics.

You learn this genre by familiarizing yourself with the best. See yourself as an apprentice. Watch, evaluate, analyze the experts, then try to emulate their work.

Soon you’ll learn enough about how to write a short story that you can start developing your own style.

A lot of the skills you need can be learned through osmosis.

Where to start? Read Bret Lott, a modern-day master. (He chose one of my short stories for one of his collections.)

Reading two or three dozen short stories should give you an idea of their structure and style. That should spur you to try one of your own while continuing to read dozens more.

Remember, you won’t likely start with something sensational, but what you’ve learned through your reading—as well as what you’ll learn from your own writing—should give you confidence. You’ll be on your way.

2. Aim for the Heart

The most effective short stories evoke deep emotions in the reader.

What will move them? The same things that probably move you:

  • Love
  • Redemption
  • Justice
  • Freedom
  • Heroic sacrifice
  • What else?

3. Narrow Your Scope

It should go without saying that there’s a drastic difference between a 450-page, 100,000-word novel and a 10-page, 2000-word short story.

One can accommodate an epic sweep of a story and cover decades with an extensive cast of characters.

The other must pack an emotional wallop and tell a compelling story with a beginning, a middle, and an end—with about 2% of the number of words.

Naturally, that dramatically restricts your number of characters, scenes, and even plot points.

The best short stories usually encompass only a short slice of the main character’s life—often only one scene or incident that must also bear the weight of your Deeper Question, your theme or what it is you’re really trying to say.

Tightening Tips

  • If your main character needs a cohort or a sounding board, don’t give her two. Combine characters where you can.
  • Avoid long blocks of description; rather, write just enough to trigger the theater of your reader’s mind.
  • Eliminate scenes that merely get your characters from one place to another. The reader doesn’t care how they got there, so you can simply write: Late that afternoon, Jim met Sharon at a coffee shop…

Your goal is to get to a resounding ending by portraying a poignant incident that tell a story in itself and represents a bigger picture.

4. Make Your Title Sing

Work hard on what to call your short story.

Yes, it might get changed by editors, but it must grab their attention first. They’ll want it to stand out to readers among a wide range of competing stories, and so do you.

5. Use the Classic Story Structure

Once your title has pulled the reader in, how do you hold his interest?

As you might imagine, this is as crucial in a short story as it is in a novel. So use the same basic approach:

Plunge your character into terrible trouble from the get-go.

Of course, terrible trouble means something different for different genres.

  • In a thriller, your character might find himself in physical danger, a life or death situation.
  • In a love story, the trouble might be emotional, a heroine torn between two lovers.
  • In a mystery, your main character might witness a crime, and then be accused of it.

Don’t waste time setting up the story. Get on with it.

Tell your reader just enough to make her care about your main character, then get to the the problem, the quest, the challenge, the danger—whatever it is that drives your story.

6. Suggest Backstory, Don’t Elaborate

You don’t have the space or time to flash back or cover a character’s entire backstory.

Rather than recite how a Frenchman got to America, merely mention the accent he had hoped to leave behind when he emigrated to the U.S. from Paris.

Don’t spend a paragraph describing a winter morning.

Layer that bit of sensory detail into the narrative by showing your character covering her face with her scarf against the frigid wind.

7. When in Doubt, Leave it Out

Short stories are, by definition, short. Every sentence must count. If even one word seems extraneous, it has to go.

8. Ensure a Satisfying Ending

This is a must. Bring down the curtain with a satisfying thud.

In a short story this can often be accomplished quickly, as long as it resounds with the reader and makes her nod. It can’t seem forced or contrived or feel as if the story has ended too soon.

In a modern day version of the Prodigal Son, a character calls from a taxi and leaves a message that if he’s allowed to come home, his father should leave the front porch light on. Otherwise, he’ll understand and just move on.

The rest of the story is him telling the cabbie how deeply his life choices have hurt his family.

The story ends with the taxi pulling into view of his childhood home, only to find not only the porch light on, but also every light in the house and more out in the yard.

That ending needed no elaboration. We don’t even need to be shown the reunion, the embrace, the tears, the talk. The lights say it all.

9. Cut Like Your Story’s Life Depends on It

Because it does.

When you’ve finished your story, the real work has just begun.

It’s time for you to become a ferocious self-editor.

Once you’re happy with the flow of the story, every other element should be examined for perfection: spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence construction, word choice, elimination of clichés, redundancies, you name it.

Also, pour over the manuscript looking for ways to engage your reader’s senses and emotions.

All writing is rewriting. And remember, tightening nearly always adds power. Omit needless words.

Examples:

She shrugged her shoulders.

He blinked his eyes.

Jim walked in through the open door and sat down in a chair.

The crowd clapped their hands and stomped their feet.

Learn to tighten and give yourself the best chance to write short stories that captivate your reader.

Where to Sell Your Short Stories

To get the lowdown on this, I consulted my longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Dennis Hensley—director of Taylor University’s writing program (in my opinion the best in the country).

Also a widely-published short story writer, Doc says that—contrary to what many believe—the short story market is NOT dead.

He recommends these main market targets:

1. Contests

Doc highly recommends entering contests, because the winners usually get published in either a magazine or online—which means instant visibility for your name.

Many pay cash prizes up to $5,000. But even those that don’t offer cash give you awards that lend credibility to your next short story pitch.

2. Genre-Specific Periodicals

Such publications cater to audiences who love stories written in their particular literary category.

If you can score with one of these, the editor will likely come back to you for more.

Any time you can work with an editor, you’re developing a skill that will well serve your writing.

3. Popular Magazines

Plenty of print and online magazines still buy and publish short stories. A few examples:

  • The Atlantic
  • Harper’s Magazine
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
  • The New Yorker
  • Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
  • Woman’s World

4. Literary Magazines

While, admittedly, this market calls for a more intellectual than mass market approach to writing, getting published in one is still a win.

If you enjoy this genre and can compete here, Doc Hensley says you get more than just exposure through a byline; it also helps you establish a track record and might even get you discovered by a book publisher, as editors and agents scour such magazines looking for talent.

Here’s a list of literary magazine short story markets.

5. Short Story Books

Yes, some publishers still publish these.

They might consist entirely of short stories from one author, or they might contain the work of several, but usually tied together by theme.

Regardless which style you’re interested in, remember that while each story should fit the whole, it must also work on its own, complete and satisfying in itself.

What’s Your Story?

You’ll know yours has potential when you can distill its idea to a single sentence. You’ll find that this will keep you on track during the writing stage. Here’s mine for a piece I titled Midnight Clear(which became a movie starring Stephen Baldwin):

An estranged son visits his lonely mother on Christmas Eve before his planned suicide, unaware she is planning the same, and the encounter gives them each reasons to go on.

In the comments below, write the one-sentence essence of your short story.

Related Posts:

How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps

How to Overcome Writer’s Block Once and for All: My Surprising Solution

How to Write a Memoir: A 3-Step Guide

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