A short story...
- Is a snapshot of a life – rather than the whole of it.
- Should contain the same elements as a novel – characters, plot, story arc, conflict, character development and transformation – but be significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
- Focuses on just one conflict
- Will begin as close to the climax as possible; there’s no time for set-up. A novel can afford to take a more meandering path, but a short story must immediately drop the reader into the world of the story.
- Will end as quickly, and efficiently as it started, often with a twist.
- Has one point of view
- Has two, (or three at most), main characters
- Is set in one place
- Covers a short period of time – a few hours to a few days.
- Be anything up to 5000 words long
- Interesting character(s)
- Interesting events
- An emotional response from the reader
- A structure
- A twist
- Ease of language
- A voice you want to listen to
Flash fiction stories have no precise length constraints but don't typically exceed 1,000 words.
Microfiction stories are sometimes defined as having fewer than 300 words
Drabble fiction – stories with fewer than 100 words
Nano fiction – fewer than 55 words
Twitter fiction, aka twitterature – 140 characters maximum