What is an example of a short paragraph story?


Quick Answer

Augusto Monterroso's "The Dinosaur" and Lydia Davis' "In a House Besieged" are two examples of extremely short stories. Other contemporary writers of short stories include Joshua Cohen and China Miéville. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an annual literary competition for one-paragraph stories, typically not exceeding 60 words.

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Full Answer

Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso is famous for his very short story "The Dinosaur," which reads as follows: "When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there" (in Spanish: "Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí"). This one-sentence story has been extensively discussed as the one of the most paradigmatic examples of narrative effectiveness: despite being composed of nine words (seven words in the Spanish original version), this story has a main character ("he"), an antagonist (the dinosaur), an action (waking up), and a temporal sequence ("still"). The story is able to surprise the reader in just one sentence.

Short stories are one of the most technically difficult narrative genres: the writer has very little space to create a fictional world, to introduce the characters, and to develop the storyline. Writing a short story requires rewriting the story as many times as necessary until each word plays the exact role the author wants it to play in the story.

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