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Short Stories and How to Write Them by [McGurl, Kathleen]
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Short Stories and How to Write Them Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Length: 162 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband and younger son, her elder son having flown the nest. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. These days she is concentrating on longer fiction, and is currently trying to find an agent for her full-length time-slip novel, while also writing another in the same genre. She works full time in the IT industry and when she’s not writing, she’s often out running, slowly.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4448 KB
  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Kathleen McGurl; 2 edition (10 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FT67LAM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,057 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed many of Kathleen McGurl's short stories in various magazines and was thrilled to discover that she'd written this book. This is a perfect book for anyone wishing to begin or improve their short story writing and includes examples of the author's own stories that she's sold.
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I've read and recommended McGurl's other How To book on ghost stories, praising it for its thoughtful structure, and I'm pleased to say this guide follows the same pattern. The style is friendly and down to earth, and the teaching method of interspersing published magazine stories with analyses and with short chapters on the broader aspects of storytelling is nothing short of brilliant. Such a helpful way of demonstrating issues such as setting, theme, shape and character! Women's magazines are a difficult market to crack, but because McGurl has had solid success in this field, she knows what works and what doesn't. A must-read if you want to write and sell stories to this market.
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This is a "must read" book for anyone writing fiction for women's magazines. Kathleen McGurl takes us through the structure and characteristics of the short story for women's magazine, and uses published examples of her own stories to illustrate the particular points she is making. She doesn't overwhelm the reader with too much information at once, instead going over one aspect of short story writing, illustrating it with a pertinent short story, then discussing that story in the light of the point she is making - she shows us how to write womag rather than tells us, and I think this is a great strength of her book.

I liked her stance on "rules", particularly regarding "show & tell", and ironing.

I will refer to it often.
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Short stories come in all shapes and sizes. For readers and writers there is no such thing as good or bad when we're talking about style. Quality is what always counts. (To illustrate my point, I enjoy opera but loathe opera singers who try to sing pop or rock. It makes me cringe.) Those who prefer literary fiction find stories published in women's magazines trivial. Those who love magazine stories believe literary short stories are boring and have no beginning, middle or end (ie no plot) and probably obscene. It's horses for courses.

As an avid reader and book reviewer as well as a writer I like both types. It all depends on how I'm feeling; whether I need a change or I want something to pass a train journey or to relax after a hard day's work. I have written both and believe me, writing for the women's magazine market is much tougher than many think - especially those who believe they can scribble one off in half an hour and sent it to the editor and bingo! A fat cheque for anything from £60 to £250 depending on the magazine. (The more an editor gets to know you and the more you give her what, the higher the fee.) If you think this, then think again.

KathMcGurl makes it clear in the strap-line that "Short Stories and How to Write Them" is aimed specifically at the UK women's magazine market. I have many such books on my shelves and downloaded my Kindle. However, there are only three or four I would consider a "must have." This one has gone straight to the top of the pile.

As well as really helpful tips and advice, Kath includes examples of some of her own published stories: not because she wants to show off. She expects us to read them critically and work out where they fit in the various types of stories editors like.
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Having been a writer for many years I've never conquered the Woman's Magazine market. Having read this little book -I know why. This is a blessing for newbies and old timers alike. Plain simple language and explanations cover each of the author's stories and how she gauged the presentation; where the ordinary events of life gave her the inspiration and many hints of her success in this very competitive market. I thoroughly recommend this e book. - a joy to read.
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I'd recommend this book to both novice and experienced writers. I'm only half way through, but it has already prompted me to buy Kathleen's other book on how to write ghost stories. I've sold a few stories to small press magazines and one national, but still lack in confidence, feeling, once I finish one, I'll never be able to write another story. This short story book is proving to be a real inspiration. Using examples of her own stories, Kathleen examines why a story works, its structure, the type of stories magazines want and how she gets inspiration from all sorts of sources. I've got several books on novel and story writing and I've nearly completed my third online writing course, but I'm learning as much from this one book - it's worth its weight in gold (okay - cliche, but very true!)
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If your submissions nearly always become rejections this is a really great book with lots of information that will help you avoid the publishers slush pile. Many points are not obvious to the ‘young’ writer but this book will arm you with the knowledge to become a flourishing womag writer. Besides general points and guidelines there are approximately fourteen of the authors stories printed in the book that have previously been published in magazines. At the end of each story there is a valuable discussion and the author’s explanation as to why she thinks the story was successful. Hopefully if you read and take guidance from this excellent book you will find success - and not rejections!
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