Character Development, Plot, & Themes in Short Stories

For June 2018 we will be reading short stories.
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Heidi M Simone
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Character Development, Plot, & Themes in Short Stories

Post by Heidi M Simone »

Sometimes, it's hard to fully develop characters, plot, and/or themes when there aren't many pages to a book, but there are definitely some good ones out there!
  • What are some short stories that you found the character development and/or character growth to be stellar?
  • Which short stories did you find the plot to be superb?
  • Are there short stories out there that have great themes?
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Post by RabidFox »

Sometimes, a series of novels can not shed enough light on its characters. Short stories can be a chance for an author to describe particular characters that would otherwise be less understood. Even the main characters of a novel can greatly benefit from short stories. You get to take a character to the side and explore facets of their personality that are not described even in a long series of books. The author simply doesn't get the opportunity. There's so much going on in the novels that things, even important things, can get cut from the larger story.

For example, the Warriors series by Erin Hunter has multiple series, but doesn't stop there. The team behind "Erin Hunter" has added guides, super editions, short stories, and comics to give the series more life and to fill in the holes that the main series never explains.

Ultimately, short stories can be a blessing for adding more character development, giving more depth to the overall plot, and elaborating on the themes in a series.
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Post by jenjayfromSA »

In YA, Pittacus Lore is an example of this. He had the overall seven books following the mainstream starting with "I Am Number Four", but added a constellation of novellas and short stories exploring the backstories of the characters and adding in side themes. Most of these were published online. It got a bit much though, as you had to catch up on the subsidiaries to understand the next mainstream, as a minor character suddenly pops into the forefront like an old friend that everyone has met except you. Of course, it is also a great way to sell more books!
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Post by pricklypurple »

The Overcoat by Gogol was pretty good. His stories have some good character development.
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