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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > February 2017 > Super Structures

Super Structures

Experiment with unusual structure in your short fiction, with Helen M Walters as your guide through some classics

If you want to make sure your short story stands out from the rest, one thing you can do is give it an unusual structure. Throw aside the confines of continuous narrative and be creative in the way you choose to tell your tale. It might be just what you need to make your story catch the eye of a magazine editor or competition judge.

Some classic short story writers have blazed a trail when it comes to unusual structures for their stories, and this month we are going to look at The Horla from Guy de Maupassant, The Story Of A Disappearance and An Appearance by MR James and The Index by JG Ballard. As usual, spoilers follow, and you’ll get the most out of the article if you read the stories yourself first, at:

Maupassant’s Diary

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant is written in the form of diary entries. This is a type of fiction that, along with stories written in the form of letters (which we will come to next) is sometimes referred to as epistolary.

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