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.Continue Reading
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.Learn more about Literary Writing