Let’s Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting is a short but practical book.

Eight sequential chapters walk a new writer through the writing and publication process, from inception to submission. Even for 107 pages it’s a quick read. The structure reminds me more of a series of blog posts than anything else. It’s ultra organized, the content broken down by sub-titles and lists within each chapter. Later on, I began to appreciate this ultra-organized fashion; it makes for a good quick reference guide.

Despite its usefulness, the content is a little disjointed. Two full pages of quotes in the middle of a section on cover letters seem like filler. (They reinforce a single point.) There’s another reference in the same chapter to the “standard format for short stories,” which seems to be missing, and had me flipping pages for five minutes.

Nonetheless, Bunting’s book is valuable because it is useful. Appendices contain URLs, there’s a community to get involved, and a short crash course in website platform-driven marketing strategy that any self-publishing enthusiast should read takes up a small chapter at the end. For under $10 for the print edition, Let’s Write a Short Story is not a bad deal.

If you’re serious about writing short stories, Bunting’s book is worth checking out. It’s a short read and the no-nonsense tone makes it something you’d rather keep in your toolbox than lend away. At least until the info goes out of date. Maybe then you’ll let a friend borrow it and buy the latest edition.

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