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A Routledge Writer’s Guide
Ailsa Cox
Writing Short Stories
Are you struggling to write a short story?
Or keen to try, but unsure where to start?
You want to learn from published writers, but don’t know how you can?
Writing Short Stories
is the solution.
Ideal for those new to the genre or for anyone who wishes to improve their
technique, this guide will help you to achieve your full potential as a short-
story writer.
Each chapter of the book:
• introduces key aspects of the craft of short-story writing,
including structure, dialogue, characterization, viewpoint,
narrative voice and more;
• shows how a wide variety of published writers have approached
the short-story genre, in order to deepen the insights you gain
from your own work;
• gets you writing, with a series of original, sometimes
challenging and always rewarding, exercises that can be tackled
alone or adapted for use in a group;
• encourages you to be inventive, to break writing habits and to
try something new, by showing the diversity of the short-story
genre, from cyberpunk to social observation.
Ailsa Cox draws on her experience as a writer to provide essential
information on drafting and editing as well as a rich Resources
section, which lists print and online journals that accept the work
of new writers. Whether you’re writing as part of a course, in a
workshop group or at home alone, this book will equip and inspire
you to write better short stories.
Ailsa Cox
is a published short-story writer and currently teaches
Creative Writing at Edge Hill College in the United Kingdom.
Writing Short Stories
Ailsa Cox
First published 2005
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
© 2005 Ailsa Cox
Typeset in Times by RefineCatch Limited, Bungay, Suffolk
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or
reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic,
mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter
invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any
information storage or retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Cox, Ailsa.
Writing short stories / Ailsa Cox.
1. Short story—Authorship. I. Title.
PN3373.C67 2005
ISBN 0–415–30386–9 (hbk)
ISBN 0–415–30387–7 (pbk)
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