Types of Fiction
Flash fiction: Flash fiction has roots going back to Aesop’s Fables, and practitioners have included Boleslaw Prus, Anton Chekhov, O. Henry, Franz Kafka, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury and Lydia Davis. New life has been brought to flash fiction by the Internet, with its demand for short, concise works. A ready market for flash-fiction works is ezines; however, flash fiction is also published by many print magazines.
Markets specializing in flash fiction include SmokeLong Quarterly, Every Day Fiction, and Flash Fiction Online. One type of flash fiction is the short story with an exact word count. Examples include 55 Fiction, the Drabble and the 69er. Nanofictions are complete stories, with at least one character and a discernible plot, exactly 55 words long. A Drabble is a story of exactly 100 words, excluding titles, and a 69er is a story of exactly 69 words, again excluding the title.
The 69er was a regular feature of the Canadian literary magazine NFG, which featured a section of such stories in each issue. Short story writer Bruce Holland Rogers has written “369” stories which consist of an overall title, then three thematically related 69ers, each with its own title. 2. Short stories Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on only one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a limited number of characters, and covers a short period of time.
In longer forms of fiction, stories tend to contain certain core elements of dramatic structure: exposition (the introduction of setting, situation and main characters); complication (the event that introduces the conflict); rising action, crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and his commitment to a course of action); climax (the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action); resolution (the point when the conflict is resolved); and moral. Because of their length, short stories may or may not follow this pattern.
Some do not follow patterns at all. For example, modern short stories only occasionally have an exposition. More typical, though, is an abrupt beginning, with the story starting in the middle of the action (in medias res). As with longer stories, plots of short stories also have a climax, crisis, or turning point. However, the endings of many short stories are abrupt and open and may or may not have a moral or practical lesson. As with any art form, the exact characteristics of a short story will vary by author. . Novelette A novelette (or novelet) is a piece of short prose fiction. The distinction between a novelette and other literary forms, like a novella, is usually based upon word count. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula awards for science fiction define the novelette as having a word count between 7,500 and 17,500 in length. The terms novelette and novelettish can also be derogatory, suggesting fiction which is “trite, feeble or sentimental” (Chambers Dictionary). 4. Novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. While there is some disagreement as to what length defines a novella, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000. Although the novella is a common literary genre in several European languages, it is less common in English. English-speaking readers may be most familiar with the novellas of John Steinbeck, particularly Of Mice and Men and The Pearl
Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony George Orwell’s Animal Farm Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Jack Kerouac has written many novellas such as Pic, Tristessa, The Subterraneans, and Satori in Paris. Most of the best-known works of H. P. Lovecraft are novellas, including The Shadow out of Time, The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. 5. Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. A work need not be written to qualify as an epic, although even the works of such great poets as Homer, Dante Alighieri, and John Milton would be unlikely to have survived without being written down. The first epics are known as primary, or original, epics. Epics that attempt to imitate these like Virgil’s The Aeneid and John Milton’s Paradise Lost are known as literary, or secondary, epics.
Another word for epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia) which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means ‘little epic’, came in use in the Nineteenth century. It refers primarily to the type of erotic and mythological long elegy of which Ovid remains the master; to a lesser degree, the term includes some poems of the English Renaissance, particularly those influenced by Ovid. One suggested example of classical epyllion may be seen in the story of Nisus and Euryalus in Book IX of The Aeneid.