KDE – 10En2 – What Makes a Good Short Story?

Due Wednesday, 10th September

What makes a good short story?

Read the following short stories: Ernest Hemingway_The Killers / To Build a Fire_Jack London

D / C Target: Analyse one of the short stories attached, and suggest which of the following categories they most rely on, in terms of their being effective short stories.  Give a short explanation why you feel this is.


B Target: Evaluate both stories in terms of how effective they are in satisfying their readers.  Which of the two is the more effective short story and why?



14 thoughts on “KDE – 10En2 – What Makes a Good Short Story?

  1. luke harding

    what makes a good story is you need good characters, interesting setting and you need some emotion in your characters like happy, sad and scared like someone is coming to get them.

    1. mrdettman Post author

      I agree with the good characters idea in particular; characters like you say, that you can feel empathy for (that means you go through what they do.) That way, you’re more involved in what happens to them.

  2. Josh hobson

    in a good story you need a good story line, similes, a beginning, middle. and end, good character, good setting that you can imagine in your head, good emotion and obviously punctuation and always have capital letters.

  3. mrdettman Post author

    OK. Josh.
    1) Read back over your advice, take your advice and re-post using you advice (specifically, ‘always have capital letters’!
    2) Give me an example of a simile.
    3) Give me three different synonyms (similar words) for ‘good’ – you’ve over-used it a bit.

  4. Josh Hobson

    The first story (The Killers) was an excellent story with some thriller type action in it. It was an effective story because there were no boring parts, it was always thrilling up until the ending. I think most it was very interesting but I didn’t quite get the ending.The second story (To build a fire) was effective and more travelling based. I found it a bit boring but it was ok. I think that The killers nailed it more for me because I found it more interesting and engaging as there where no boring bits at all.

    My example of a Simile is “as funny as a cat named Yoda”! 😉

  5. Iron Tidge (Brandon)

    I think what makes a good short story is when there is something to be attached to, like if there was an main character you can tell a lot of the emotional things about there back round.

    Also in a short story for me there should be either a little bit of gore and horror to get me dragged into it.
    And if there is so horror then it has to be fun because if something makes me laugh then i will me more entertained so there for I will be attached to the story.

    that is my opinion of what makes a good short story and I dont know about any one else but thats just me. 😉

    1. mrdettman Post author

      OK, Brandon – sounds good. Horror is a great hook – we seem as humans, to be obsessed by morbid, terrifying things!
      Look to use more commas; in fact, each time you have a micro-pause (when read aloud in your head), stick one in.
      *their = their book
      there = over there (an easy way to remember this, is that ‘there’ and ‘over’ have an ‘er’ shared in both!)

  6. Michaela Taylor

    To make a good short story, you just have good dialogue, good settings e.g : on the moon, with music or something to say where it is and what is happening. you must also have good start, middel, and an ending becuase that is the most inportant parts of the story. And the final thing that is inportant is that you have to have a theme E.g : colourful, dark, loud, quiet, horror, thriler etc.

    1. mrdettman Post author

      You’ve leaped ahead to Narrative Structure, Michaela, well done. This is to do with how you order you story: Introduction; Climax and Resolution. Perhaps you could consider playing around with this structure in your own story; you could use a ‘flashforward’ or ‘flashback’ to start it with.

  7. zacc ;)

    in my opinion what makes a god short story is suspense and story line. Also rhetorical devices are good because it makes it that bit more interesting. I think that short and effective sentences are good because it creates tension and suspense. What i like in short story’s are action and thrill because it livens up the stroy. I also thing that punctuation is key because it can create big sentences ans small sentences. Short sentences are good because it is snappy. Bigger sentences are also good because they it can be used to start or end the short story. all these things are my opinion of a short story.

    1. mrdettman Post author

      Zac, this is a great answer,albeit missing paragraphs and commas where needed. I like the ‘rhetorical devices’ bit. How do they make it more interesting? (If you can name three, I’ll give you a Praise Point).

      Varying sentence lengths are also, as you have kind of said, a great way to entertain the reader.

  8. mrdettman Post author

    Posted for Harry:
    I think “To Build a Fire_Jack London” this one is better. because this story haven’t a lot character and this story is more clear, compare to “Ernest Hemingway_The Killers”, “To Build a Fire_Jack London” this story haven’t a lot dialogue, and this made the story simple, this can easier to let’s readers understood.

  9. mrdettman Post author

    Well done for taking on the extra challenge, Harry. Praise Point.
    You don’t need an apostrophe in this case for ‘let’s’. That word expanded out is: ‘let us’. It would be correct if you were to say: ‘Let’s finish this lesson’. (‘Let us finish this lesson.’


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