Monday, December 4, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: 15 DAYS TO WRITE AND SUBMIT A SHORT STORY, by Joe Bunting

This is a workbook meant to go with the writing book, "Let's Write a Short Story!" by the same author.

Keep in mind that with many aspects of creative writing, what works for one person does not mean it must and will work for everyone else. We all have unique brains and unique viewpoints and approaches to the task of writing. This workbook will be helpful for people who have never tried writing short stories, or those who are novices at writing, period. For those who are "set in their ways" in terms of coming up with a story idea, a plot, organizing, researching, revising, this might chafe in places.

The cardinal rule in writing, once you get past the mechanics, is that there basically are no rules. You have to do what feeds your soul and take the route that works for you.

That being said, this is a handy little workbook that is worth following at least once, just to figure out what you can do, how it can help, and maybe even teach you a new approach -- and new approaches can sometimes solve problems you weren't even aware you had. You know, those brainstorm, bolt of lightning moments.

The exercises take some of the fear and angsting (yeah, I made up that word, so sue me!) out of trying to sit down and write a short story for the first time, because the author starts out by asking for only an hour of your time every day. He chops up the tasks and exercises into bite-size pieces. Very helpful. There's wise advice scattered throughout, such as keeping a notebook or recorder or something at hand at all times to capture those moments of inspiration that always seem to come at the most awkward and inconvenient moments. (For me, that's usually in the 10 minutes before the service starts on Sunday morning. Don't know why ... but yes, I keep a thick notebook in my purse. I've also resorted to the Dragon dictation software for my iPhone, to get ideas down when I'm on a long drive and can't pull over to the side of the road every other mile to write down another idea.)

Along with exercises such as reading assignments, there are resources that could prove helpful, and questions to answer to untangle ideas and fill in blanks.

Try it at least once. You might be surprised what help it can give you.

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