book review · Creative Writing · Five Star Review · writing

The Art and Craft of the Short Story( a book review)

art and craft of short stories
Book cover courtesy of Open Road Distribution(October 2016)

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick DeMarinis

Originally published by Story Press(2008)

ISBN: 978-15040-3685-6

If you’ve ever wanted to take that Master’s course in creative short fiction writing, I recommend none higher than DeMarinis’ The Art and Craft of the Short Story. This is no short book with quick, easy clichés to get you writing better. On the contrary, you will learn the anatomy of the short story and how to tell the difference between a good one and bad one.

What makes this book so good?

  • It is straight to the point with explanations of the tools of creative writing.
  • Lots of exercises.
  • Examples of amazing short stories written and published.

As someone who loves reading poetry and short stories, I had to pick this one up. I needed a book from an expert who will not only tell, but show me what good writing looks like.

DeMarinis breaks down beginnings, endings, plots, imagery, theme and more.

You realize he is speaking to you as a gentle instructor, showing you what you already realize as a reader: that a story has to grab your attention from the get go.

Here is just a few of the sage advice you’ll find:

  • “If there is a thematic point in a story to be made, it would have to emerge organically-not forced”(pg.59) meaning as you are writing, you may not want to focus on theme, just tell the story. Readers will have their own thoughts on what the theme truly is.
  • The contemporary short story is mostly character driven.
  • Shifting points of view may bring the story into sharper focus.
  • Closing a short story is similar to closing a poem(really loved this topic!)
  • The weird yet glamorous world of meta-fiction writing.

I think the biggest take away from this book is the breakdown of stories. As DeMarinis puts it:

“In fiction, every sentence is innovation.”(pg. 135) Stories are made up of Narrative(voice that tells the story), narrative summary(moves story forward), and scenes(place characters on stage).

Seeing it condensed like that after reading his book, really nailed it.

So if you are interested in writing short stories and getting them recognized and/or published, you will be doing yourself a favor by picking it up either on loan from Freading.com or clicking its title above to purchase from Amazon.

I wish I could spill all the information from beginning to end on this book, but writing is your journey and yours alone.

Would you pick up this book to improve your own writing or to learn about short fiction?

What are some books you have read on short story writing? Share here!

Sincerely,

-The Write Web

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