A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the 20th and 21st century sense) and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because of the fragmentation of the medium into genres. Since the short story format includes a wide range of genres and styles, the actual length is determined by the individual author's preference (or the story's actual needs in terms of creative trajectory or story arc) and the submission guidelines relevant to the story's actual market. Text taken from Wikipedia; accessed November 15, 2011.
This website is the home of over 2,000 classic short stories, arranged in collections such as ‘Twenty Great American Short Stories,’ plus collections of stories by Chekhov, O. Henry, de Maupassant, Poe and others. Stories are sorted by author and title.
Even though this website originates out of the UK and has links to writing contests and book awards that pertain to Britain, the content is applicable to anyone interested in short stories and how they are constructed. There are complete stories freely available for downloading as well as editorials from writers, editors, agents and others in the book/publishing business.
Collection residing on the website ClassicReader.com, including classic short stories from a wide range of authors spanning several centuries; includes authors such as Honore de Balzac, Anton Chekhov, Edgar Allan Poe and many others.