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Writing Great Short Stories

Title: Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories
Editor: Margaret Lucke
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Copyright: 1999 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

It was my intent to find a book that would teach me how to write formulaically.  I had it my head I could fill out a form, press a button, and—viola!—a perfect little story would be written.  Well, Margaret Lucke's book doesn't do that because, first of all, it was published 16 years ago, before Web 2.0 was declared, and, secondly, writing a book based on a formula—let alone an online form—is frowned upon by most everyone.  However, template-based software is out there for writers, and it won't be long before any old nincompoop can access an online form, enter content, and watch the next great American novel be generated.

Since I still have to write the old-fashioned way, I'd better do it so it best suits my intended audience, which is the ever-dwindling number of fiction readers.  Today's readers are used to writers who show and don't just merely tell a story and who seamlessly blend character, plot, and setting.  It's not easy to write for today's readers, and one must relentlessly compete for readership since Amazon's self-publishing system is releasing a flood of written-word material, readers are rapidly becoming an endangered species, and there are rival activities, such as watching videos on YouTube, to devour reading time.

Nevertheless, there are 7 billion people on this planet and hundreds of millions of them can read English, so the odds of someone reading my short stories (other than my significant other) are not completely bad.  So, I am glad, then, I read Lucke's book.  The advice in it has helped me.  I noticed that I had been following some neophytic tendencies, and thanks to Lucke's well presented examples I feel a little more confident about proceeding with producing a collection of short stories.

Writing Great Short Stories gets three Pot Dots.  Furthermore, since I enjoyed and admired the examples Lucke used in her book, which were from her own original works, I'll try to pick up one of her books in the future.  She seems like an excellent writer.