Short Story Topics

in Essay Topics

Good Short Story TopicsIn order to figure out what makes the best short story topics, it is important first to get a precise definition of the short story. Edgar Allan Poe defined the short story as “one short enough to be read at a single sitting.” In general, works of this genre are shorter than novels and do not describe the characters in as much depth, nor do they depict such a complex series of events. They usually are also attempting to produce a single major effect, or to make a single point; whereas a novel tends to have more than one effect or deal with multiple themes.

Good Short Story Topics

There is really no limit to what subjects can be topics for a short story. Almost anything you see around you might turn out to make a god work of fiction, so keep your eyes— and your mind— open. Carry a notepad in your pocket with you everywhere you go, so you can take down any ideas that come to you “on the go.”

The following ideas, some of them taken from the site of the Short Story Institute, all make good short story topics.

– children’s soccer— Soccer may rank relatively low on the list of U. S. sports, but it is still popular among amateurs (I played it myself when I was young); and it can be used to illustrate the pressure of parents to have their children succeed.

– first date— The writer can express the experience in first person narrative or third person limited, from either partner’s point of view, as well as in first person omniscient. He should capture the sense of novelty about something which represents an important step towards maturity and independence.

– moving out— Changing residences gives children mixed feelings— one the one hand, it is exciting to discover a new place and new people; on the other, leaving one’s old home and friends can be sad. (And I should know— my family changed residence seven times before I turned fourteen!)

– a high school or college reunion— Since these normally take place only on one night, they are quite easy to cover in a story that covers a few pages. The most important feelings to be conveyed here are the excitement of seeing old friends that one may not have seen in years and finding out what they have been doing, and looking forward to telling them what has happened with you and reminiscing about the “good old days.”

Short stories may deal with profound issues such as one’s own identity. “A Mother in Manville” (1936), by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, tells about a woman (the story’s narrator) who meets an honest, hard- working boy at the orphanage where she works, and he tells her she reminds him of his mother; the story’s last line makes it clear that he has no mother. The reader will sympathize with the boy despite his false story, for it contains an element of truth: Deep down inside, he wishes his mother had been like the narrator.

What makes the above short story topics good?
All the topics discussed above are excellent for the short story. They are relatively simple things for which both the events and one’s feelings can be covered in a few pages.

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