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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2018 > THE big QUESTION


Helen M Walters looks at Haita The Shepherd by Ambrose Bierce to examine writing short stories that tackle weighty issues


This month we’re going to look at a story by Ambrose Bierce that addresses some very big questions. It has a deceptively simple plot, but in the course of the action unfolding Bierce takes in the nature of religious belief, the transience of happiness and even the meaning of life and death. Haita The Shepherd takes the reader on a journey exploring all these topics, and showing how they are connected, and as usual you’ll get the most from this masterclass if you read it for yourself. You can read it here:

Bierce sets the scene in the first few paragraphs of the story, showing the reader how Haita lives a simple life minding his flocks. Bierce demonstrates that Haita has a very different worldview from that of the reader, and it is watching that world view unfold which is one of the keys to the appeal of the story.

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About Writing Magazine

Want to double your story sales? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we tell you how to turn one idea into two stories. All writers need feedback on their work, and we explore how positive feedback will make you a better writer. Is horror dead? We look at the current state of horror publishing. This month's star interview is author Nikesh Shukla talking about the big issues: life, race and big ideas. Read 20 pages of news about competitions and opportunities to get into print, and there's £60,089 in writing prizes to be won.
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