Elements of a Good Short Story

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What is a short story? A short story is a fictional piece of literature that is intended to captivate an audience in a short period. Certain elements need to be present for it to achieve this goal. A good developing central character and a compact plot which demonstrates a high conflict-resolution are essential ingredients required to have a real successful short story. Having a strong central character gives the reader someone that they can emotionally associate with. A compact plot, with a developing conflict-resolution, keeps the reader in suspense. A central character is someone that the reader can have something in common with and in a way feel empathy towards. The development of this character is what brings suspense to the story and keeps the reader interested. In “Royal Beatings” by Alice Munro, we have the main character, Rose. Rose’s character is one that the reader can connect and have compassion for. Rose’s mother passed away at a young age and was brought up by her stepmother in a rough part of town. From the first line of the novel, we know that Rose will experience hardship: “Royal Beating. That was Flo’s promise” (p.1125). This makes the reader want to know what is going to happen next. Will Rose receive a Royal Beating? As Rose’s character begins to develop, we see that her relationship with her stepmother starts to decline resulting in Rose getting a Royal beating by her father. In this story, the reader can recognize the main character right away and emotionally connect with their journey therefore creating a good suspenseful short story. Conflict is what the author uses to create suspense and therefore making it enjoyable for the reader. It is essential to the plot. In the short story “Yellow Wallpaper”, we see a conflict between the narrator and her husband, John. John does not think she is sick: “John does not know how much I really
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