This weekend, I got the wonderful opportunity to read and review Joe Bunting’s new book, Let’s Write A Short Story, presented by the popular writing blog, The Write Practice.
One of my favorite parts about this book included the beginning quote by Ray Bradybury. The quote explained that if you write 52 stories every week for a year, at least one of them has to be good.
I couldn’t agree more with Bradbury and Joe Bunting.
Bunting’s book explores the many reasons why writing short stories, especially in this information rich culture, is a much better idea than pursing the marathons of writing novels. One reason is exposure. Readers will not be as willing to read your book if they don’t know who you are, and they will be more willing to read your book if they have read a short story or two.
Do you ever wonder why we become so frustrated with rejections by literary art magazines? The reason may come as quite a shocker. In Bunting’s book, he explains why it is harder to get published in a literary arts magazine than it is to get accepted into an ivy league school.
In essence, the book clearly spells out that the odds are stacked up against us.
However, there is hope. We do live in the age of the Internet, where we can network, make friends, try to connect though writing and stories, and make the best of art.
Writers these days should look past trying to make money, and forge ahead with trying to start a dialogue with the universe. One of the reasons writing is truly healing, Bunting explains, is because it allows us to be fully alive in the world. It keeps us in touch with ourselves, and this is very important.
If you are trying to break out into the writing world, spend the $4 and definitely buy this book about publishing. Bunting explains the basics most amateurs have trouble understanding when submitting their first works. Basic information includes how to format your short story and what to include in a cover letter, basic information even I have completely neglected until now.
Bunting interviews various literary arts magazine editors, asking them what sort of work they look for and the major reasons for rejecting pieces to begin with.
I loved this book for many reasons. The book was filled with efficient, concise information about the greatest needs for us as writers. Instead of focusing on publishing, Bunting offers the practical real-world advice and guidance for those who are pursing trying to publish a short story, and he even gives the writer a little bit of confidence by literally challenging every reader to submit something.
This was truly something I needed to hear. Joe’s book helped me focus on a piece I have been working on for literally six years. Of course this needs to be a novel, I said. However, I see now that this piece is truly a short story. It’s upsetting to learn that after six years of world a piece you have been working on could only be a short story, but is it? Is it sad to say the apex and conglomeration of everything you are trying to say can only be conveyed in short story? Maybe, but maybe not.
Some people try to encapsulate the meaning of life in a tweet these days, so taking six years to write a short story doesn’t make me feel as bad after reading this book.
Bunting also breaks down how short stories need protagonists to deal with conflict. This is when I realized the story I had been writing for six years was a short story, not a novel. All I need to do is get through the third act: resolution. Then, that’s the end of the road for my character, a sweet farewell and goodbye that is hard for me to do, I guess.
Bunting also explained the importance of writing a novel and publishing it for free for those who visit your blog. As someone who is a librarian, this is one reason I started a blog. I feel like the publishing industry is dying. If you want to make money as a writer, you can, and even better these days, you can do it without the publishing industry. You can truly write books and publish them yourself. For the first time, creative writers and authors can manage and organize their own literary enterprises to their own desires. Bunting confirmed this thought that had been in the back of my head for some time.
So, let’s write a short story all! Bunting has inspired me to grow that little baby of a short story up on it’s own legs, send it off to some magazine, and be okay with this half-standing novel to transform into a short story. In many ways, that is what it always was. It feels refreshing to move on.
It’s okay to write a novella or short story, and not a novel. Thank you for this, Joe. I really appreciate it.