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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2017 > The best short story in the world

The best short story in the world

Helen M Walters introduces a masterpiece of short fiction and explains how it works so well

What’s the best short story in the world? Obviously, this is very much a matter of personal taste, but in this first of a new regular series of features on short story writing, I’d like to share one of my favourite stories with you and discuss why I think it works so well.

As with my previous masterclasses, you will get the most out of this piece if you read the short story for yourself. Please be aware that in discussing the story I am going to give away the ending, so you might want to read the story first, at

The Story Of An Hour by Kate Chopin demonstrates some of the techniques that writers can use to make their short stories satisfying, elegant and meaningful. The tale of the effect on a woman of hearing news of her husband’s death demonstrates many of the most important skills of short story telling and brings them together in a brilliant whole.

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Make this the month you make your dreams real and start becoming a writer in the Get Serious issue, with advice on: • How a change of attitude will help you, and the wider world, take your writing seriously • How to stay motivated past the difficult mid-novel slump • Money matters: Are you charging enough for your freelance writing? PLUS How to make sense of your royalty statements Cover star Jake Arnott tells us about finding the stories and characters that society overlooks and we explore the style and technique of forensic crime superstar Patricia Cornwell Get your work out there with opportunities to get published and competitions with more than £60,000 total prize money in 20 packed pages of Writers' News. All this plus our definitive guide to writing festivals, courses and other events for 2017