Imaginative Writing The Elements of Craft (Penguin Academics Series)

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1/3/2010
  • Publisher: Longman
  • View Upgraded Edition

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $2.02
    Check/Direct Deposit: $1.92

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The Used and Rental copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Written by best-selling author Janet Burroway, Imaginative Writing–an introduction to creative writing–covers all four genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama.

Imaginative Writing discusses elements of craft common to all creative writing before delving into the individual genres. After an introduction, the next five chapters each investigate a specific element of craft—Image, Voice, Character, Setting, and Story—from a perspective that crosses all genres. Integrated readings from talented and renowned writers illustrate the chapter topics. Chapter 7 explores development and revision and serves as a bridge between the craft chapters and the genre chapters—Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.

This unique organization allows students to experiment with creative techniques shared by all genres before deciding which form best suits their imagination. Unique "Try-This" exercises help students develop writing skills, while “Working Toward a Draft” exercises encourage students to think ahead about the direction and possibilities of their work.

In keeping with Longman's "Penguin Academics" series, Imaginative Writing offers an attractive, trade-format book at an affordable price.

Author Biography

JANET BURROWAY is the author of plays, poetry, essays, children’s books, and eight novels including The Buzzards, Raw Silk (runner up for the National Book Award), Opening Nights, Cutting Stone, and Bridge of Sand. Her publications include a collection of personal essays, "Embalming Mom," in addition to a volume of poetry, Material Goods, and two children’s books in verse, The Truck on the Track and The Giant Jam Sandwich. Her most recent plays, Medea with Child (The Reva Shiner Award), Sweepstakes, Division of Property (Arts & Letters Award), and Parts of Speech, have received readings and productions in NewYork, London, San Francisco, Hollywood, Chicago, and various regional theatres. Her textbook Writing Fiction, now in its eighth edition, is the most widely used creative writing text in the United States. She is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Table of Contents

*** indicate selections new to this edition.


CHAPTER 1 Invitation to the writer

You . . .

. . . and writing . . .

. . . and reading. . .

. . . and this book . . .

. . . and your journal . . .


Ayelet Waldeman***

Billy Collins ***

Cris Mazza ***

Patricia Henley***  

Philip Graham***  

A word about your workshop . . .


PART I The Elements of Craft



Image and Imagination

Concrete, Significant Details

Figures of Speech


Creative Nonfiction

Annie Dillard

from Heaven and Earth in Jest

David Sedaris

What I Learned ***


Nadine Gordimer

The Diamond Mine


Roger Bonair-Agard

American history looks for light—a prayer for the survival of Barak Obama ***

Billy Collins

Snow Day

Yusef Komunyakaa

Facing It


Don Nigro

Come into the Garden, Maud ***



Your Voice


Character Voice

Point of View


Creative Nonfiction

 Alice Walker

Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self

Warren J. Bowe

Guns for Teachers ***

Calvin Trillin

Rock Threat Subsides ***


Thomas McGuane

Cowboy ***

Jorge Luis Borges

The Book of Sand ***


William Trowbridge

Kong Looks Back on His Tryout with the Bears

Sian B. Griffiths

Fistful ***

Matt Bondurant

The Pathos of Charles Schultz ***

Barbara Hamby

Ode to American English ***


Jane Martin

French Fries


CHAPTER 4 Character

As Desire

As Image

As Voice

As Action

As Thought

As Presented by the Author

As Conflict

Stock and Flat Characters


Creative Nonfiction

Stuart Dybek

Thread ***

Lois-Ann Yamanaka

JohnJohn’s World ***


Alice Monroe

Prue ***

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World ***


Theodore Roethke

I Knew a Woman

Carole Simmons Oles


Allen Ginsberg

To Aunt Rose

Elizabeth Jennings

One Flesh

Ted Kooser

Tattoo ***


Alan Bennett

Bed Among the Lentils ***


CHAPTER 5 Setting

As the World

As a Camera

As Mood and Symbol

As Action


Creative Nonfiction

Joan Didion

At the Dam

Paul Theroux

The Slow Train to Kandy ***


Donald Barthelme

The School

Angela Carter

The Werewolf ***


Sherman Alexie

At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School

Heather McHugh

Earthmoving Malediction

Philip Appleman

Nobody Dies in the Spring ***

Yusef Komunyakaa

Nude Interrogation


David Ives

The Philadelphia



As a Journey

As a Power Struggle

As Connection and Disconnection


Creative Nonfiction

Patricia Hampl

Red Sky in the Morning


David Foster Wallace

Incarnations of Burned Children ***

Naguib Mahfouz

Half a Day ***


Robert Hass

A Story About the Body

Albert Goldbarth

Columbine High School/Littleton, CO

Ellen Bryant Voigt

Short Story

Maxine Kumin


Li - Young Lee

The Hammock


Michael Golamco

Heartbreaker ***


CHAPTER 7 Development And Revision

Developing a Draft





The Workshop


Elizabeth Bishop: First and Final Drafts of One Art

Patty Seyburn: Anatomy of Disorder ***

Janet Burroway: The Opening of Indian Dancer: A Revision Narrative

Mark Vinz: The Penitent ***

Rita Mae Reese: A History of Glass ***




CHAPTER 8 Creative Nonfiction

The Essay and Creative Nonfiction

Memoir and the Personal Essay

Techniques of Creative Nonfiction

Fact and Truth


Gayle Pemberton

Do He Have Your Number, Mr. Jeffrey?

Margaret Atwood

The Female Body

S. L. Wisenberg

Margot’s Diary ***

Studs Terkel

Jack Culberg, 79 ***

Creative Nonfiction Format


CHAPTER 9 Fiction

Story and Plot

Scene and Summary

Backstory and Flashback

Text and Subtext


Amy Bloom

The Story

Ernest Hemingway

A Very Short Story ***

Tobias Wolff

Powder ***

Ron Carlson

Bigfoot Stole My Wife

Fiction Format


CHAPTER 10 Poetry

Formal and Free Verse

Working with Sound

The Poetic Line

Imagery, Connotation, and Metaphor

Density and Intensity


Gerald Stern

Columbia the Gem

Sound: Verbal and Nonverbal

The Ten-Minute Play

Some Notes on Screenwriting


Anton Chekhov

The Proposal ***

José Rivera


Alice O ’ Neill

What I Came For ***

Lanford Wilson


Drama Format


Appendix A: Basic Prosody

Appendix B: Line Editing




Rewards Program

Customer Reviews

Awesome textbook for any beginning writer March 19, 2011
It's a very smart book that asks the writer to join in the long histories of the genres it discusses and offers the most succinctly articulated descriptions of techniques and approaches that will not only get a writer started writing but that will also help that writer understand what makes good writing good. It has so many useful tips in it to help you on your journey to becoming a creative writer! If you enjoy writing and want to gain some new skill, I definitely recommend this book :)
Flag Review
Please provide a brief explanation for why you are flagging this review:
Your submission has been received. We will inspect this review as soon as possible. Thank you for your input!
Imaginative Writing The Elements of Craft (Penguin Academics Series): 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

Write a Review