Today’s post is for writers in general but particularly for those who wish to write short stories. If you, like me, have a few dozen folders, printed or electronic, where you’ve stored those forgotten short stories, here is the book to help. I agreed to write a review of Joe Bunting’s book but couldn’t stop putting his suggestions into practice long enough to write the review. Until I had finished the book, that is, and reread all my stories applying his suggestions to them. And I felt energized and elated like I hadn’t felt since first I learned about sex. Well, not quite that long ago, but I was certainly charged up once more with the incomparable joy of writing. Here is what I posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Along the line of Let’s Write a Short Story! by Joe Bunting, I’m writing this review in a list format, so that I, too, can be straight to the point, yet include a lot of information.
1. Accountability. Joe’s book starts right out asking the reader to promise to write and submit a short story to a literary magazine. He engages his readers by making them accountable. There is a curious satisfaction in doing that as the reader feels part of the process.
2. How-to details are succinctly described and not lost in a lot of verbiage. Sort of like a short story which must be, well, short. “Besides length, one of the major things distinguishing short stories from other literary forms is they usually feature one major event. In this way, short stories are event-driven rather than character-driven.”
3. The book has lots of helpful links just at the point where the reader is wondering how to approach a particular suggestion. These are like footnotes, only better, as the reader has the option to click and see so much more.
4. He covers the five elements of storytelling in a short but complete list. This is a topic about which volumes have been written. Bunting assumes his readers (writers, after all)can fill in the spaces. Again, he mimics short story style in this way.
5. Bunting has a way of challenging the reader to be the best he/she can be. He asks “What do you have to complete to die satisfied?” Wow! Talk about a cut-to-the-heart-of-the-matter question.
6. The book also includes mundane but absolutely necessary notes on titles, correct format, fonts, weeding out weak words, spacing, margins and correct paragraphing for short stories.
7. Oh, and finally, Bunting gives a concise accounting of rights and their reversion back to the author. He then proceeds to show what that author might do with them.
I planned to write this review last week but got so excited about following the book’s suggestions to revamp my own short stories that I needed more time. If that isn’t a telling comment about the effectiveness of Let’s Write a Short Story!, I don’t know what is.
Consider leaving a comment about writing your own short stories, whether you’ve written dozens or none, whether you’ve published them or not, and whether you, too, have found a wonderful book about writing them.