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Practical Short Story Writing [Paperback]

John Paxton Sheriff
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Sep 1998
If you are a short story writer hoping to ge t published, this new edition is the book for you. The autho r presents a huge amount of useful information in an easily accessible form. '

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (19 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0709063261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0709063261
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 223,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Writing a biography seems like a piece of cake, until the attempt is made. Then... Well, where do you start.

I'm not too keen on any novels that begin in childhood. So, let's cut a long and boring factual story, and make it very short. 

I was born in Liverpool, England, and spent time in North Wales during the war. It was in North Wales that I qualified for grammar school, that education was continued in Liverpool - with no success whatsoever - and was followed by fifteen years in the British Army. During that time I got married and had three children: two girls and a boy, in that order. After the army - which I left because I was going deaf - the family moved to Australia for five years. I worked in New South Wales as a door-to-door insurance salesman, then in New South Wales and Queensland as a motor mechanic. But, more importantly, in that time my writing began to get published.

At that time I'd been writing for many years, with little success. In Australia, my short stories took off. Some general stories were published in the top glossy magazines for women, short crime stories were published in Adam, a pulp magazine for men.

My wife always told me that everything we do in life comes in useful sooner or later. As far as my writing goes, I'm convinced she's right - and this theory could be useful to many aspiring writers.
When we returned to England, I spent five years working on computers for a major bank, and some nine years designing, casting and painting toy soldiers for collectors around the world. But I continued writing, and - I think it was in 1986 - I moved away from fiction and began writing articles. The success I had in national magazines led to work with two local newspaper groups. I was writing short feature articles for them, as many as ten, 500-word articles a week. I had to be economical with words, and - now it's back to my wife's brilliant theory - I'm sure that economy with words helped me when I began writing short Western novels.

Perhaps it did. One thing I do know is that writing short Western novels helped me when I turned to crime writing. And now it's working the other way: creating complicated plots for crime novels means that my Western novels are becoming more complex - and so far, fingers crossed, that's a good thing.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I found this book very readable, easy to understand and best of all, useful. It is exactly what it says it is in the title - a practical guide to writing short stories. I would go so far as to say it is the best book I have ever read on the subject. Everything you need to know is in there in a succinct to-the-point style. Get it. You will not be sorry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, clear, effective 2 July 2010
By Terich
A really practical book on a complex topic. Very personal, encouraging, engaging, fun, honest and inspiring. Doesn't make false promises that good story writing needs practice, practice and practice, but gives very good tools and suggestions to help on the way. For me one of the most succinct and fluff-free books on the subject on the market still.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start. 14 Oct 2000
By C. Morales - Published on Amazon.com
It is possible that you have always wanted to write a book. So do I. Searching for information, I came across this little book. Although it is more oriented to writing stories of about 3000 to 5000 words in length, suitable for magazines, it contains helpful information that will help you have a better idea on how to develop a story, how to structure it and how to keep track of the plot. With this book handy, you now can approach that book that you have always wanted to write. To me, it got me up and running and it has been a good start.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It can`t gift you with talent but it doesn`t claim to do so 30 April 2004
By ZH - Published on Amazon.com
What to write, how to write it and where to send it to get a chance for being published: in essence this is what the book is intended to help you with.
I found the book a little too focused on the "craftmanship"-element of writing rather than the art in it, but that`s not necessarily bad: it is a short (160- pages) HOWTO-like book with which you can evade the mistakes you would probably make in your first 5-10 stories.
What I was glad to find in the book were the one or two mentions that there is really more in writing than the technique - altough a short summary or at least a few examples of famous titles not fitting in any category (consider some early 20th century short-story writers) wouldn`t have hurt the book either.
In short: it is a great start if you want to start writing (especially since it has information for getting published not only in the UK, but also in the US and Australia) but don`t forget that there is much more in writing than what the book covers.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is practical 20 Sep 2001
By mary wright - Published on Amazon.com
A look at plot, technique, and twist. Not bad, not the best, but not bad at all.
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