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On Writing Short Stories [Paperback]

Tom Bailey
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2010 0195395654 978-0195395655 2
On Writing Short Stories, Second Edition, explores the art and craft of writing short fiction by bringing together nine original essays by professional writers and thirty-three examples of short fiction. The first section features original essays by well-known authors--including Francine Prose, Joyce Carol Oates, and Andre Dubus--that guide students through the process of writing. Focusing on the characteristics and craft of the short story and its writer, these essays take students from the workshopping process all the way through to the experience of working with agents and publishers. The second part of the text is an anthology of stories--many referred to in the essays--that give students dynamic examples of technique brought to life.

In this second edition, author-editor Tom Bailey brings the text up-to-date with new and revised essays, alongside classic pieces by Robert Coles and Frank Conroy and a foreword by Tobias Wolff.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author


Tom Bailey is the author of several books, including Crow Man Stories (2003) and the novels The Grace That Keeps This World (2006) and Cotton Song (2006), as well as A Short Story Writer's Companion (OUP, 2000). His short stories have been anthologized in the Pushcart Prizes, New Stories from the South, Streetsongs: New Voices in Fiction, and cited in The Best American Short Stories. Among other awards for his writing, he has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship and a Newhouse Award from the John Gardner Foundation and was named winner of the 2006 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction. He currently teaches in the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University, where he is a professor of English and Creative Writing.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195395654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195395655
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Reviewed by C J Singh
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The second edition of the just published "On Writing Short Stories" is a single volume 432-page version that combines and upgrades the first edition of Bailey's "On Writing Short Stories" and his A Short Story Writer's Companion. (See my review). The new book comprises two parts: expository essays on craft; and an anthology of short stories.

Tom Bailey contributes an excellent 55-page exposition of short-story writing basics: Character, Plot, Setting, Metaphor, and Voice. Other essays on craft include Francine Prose's " What Makes a Short Story" (9 pages) ; Joyce Carol Oates's "Reading as a Writer: The Artist as Craftsman" (13 pages); and C. Michael Curtis's "Publishers and Publishing" (13 pages). The expository essays constitute a third of the book.

The anthology comprises thirty stories, nearly twice the number in the first edition. They range from classics such as Guy de Maupassant's "The String"; Anton Chekov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog"; William Faulkner's " A Rose for Emily"; to contemporary stories such as Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings"; Joyce Carol Oates's "Heat"; and Tobias Wolff's "Bullet in the Brain." Bailey has added a multicultural dimension by including outstanding contemporary stories like Jhumpa Lahiri's "A Temporary Matter"; Z Z Packer's "Brownies"; and Junot Diaz's "Nilda."

Each story is introduced with a quote by its writer "to place the writer and his or her shiort story and style in the context of the history of the genre." A brief biographical note follows the quote. For example, Jhumpa Lahiri's quote: "It interests me to imagine characters shifting from one situation and one location to another....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most Used Textbook September 7, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This collection of short stories and craft instruction was purchased for a MFA class. I am so glad it was assigned reading, for if it hadn't been I might never have found this this thought provoking aid to my writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect condition March 31, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ordered it used. Came in perfect condition.

Good read and very informative for a writer (well, wannabe). The collection of short stories in the back are top-notch and give a good variety from the genre.
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