Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spark Notes: How to Write a Short Story

For today’s new experience, I give you “Spark Notes: Ultimate Style: How to Write a Short Story” by John Vorwald and Ethan Wolff.
This book sat on my shelf for over a year, and I finished reading it earlier today. It’s by far one of the best books I’ve ever read on how to write a short story. With clear, concrete instructions, this 187-page book covers finding ideas, creating characters, choosing the right point of view, how to begin with a hook, form lively descriptions, create memorable endings, write convincing dialogue and how to revise your work.
Maybe best of all, throughout the book, the authors used a model short story to illustrate their points. They chose “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, which many of you have read and will know is set in Alabama during Civil War times.
I’d rank “Spark Notes: Ultimate Style: How to Write a Short Story” among the best books on writing that I’ve read. Others I would recommend would include:
1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
2. How Fiction Works by Oakley Hall
3. The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick DeMarinis
4. Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction by Damon Knight
5. The Art and Craft of Feature Writing by William E. Blundell
6. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
7. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall
8. The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane
9. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
10. On Writing by Stephen King
Some of these books you may have heard of, others probably not. In any event, you can’t go wrong with any of these if you’re looking for good advice on writing.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed "On Writing" by Stephen King. And as an aspiring writer myself, I am very interesting in taking a look at the others. Thanks for the list!