Three Genres: Writing Fiction/Literary Nonfiction, Poetry, and Drama

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-01-01
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
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For introductory courses in creative writing of poetry, fiction, and drama. This time-tested, hands-on introduction to poetry, fiction, and drama writing addresses the dynamics of the creative process while providing a non-technical analysis of each genre. Each genre section is self-contained, features complete works as examples, and provides advice on how to begin writing creatively in the genre. Provides more practical advice to encourage students to work on their own. Throughout, students are encouraged to find their own voices as writers.

Table of Contents


1. What Makes a Poem a Poem?
2. Plunging In: Reading as the First Step.
3. Sources: Where Poems Come From.
4. Images: the Essential Element.
5. The Sound of Words.
6. Traditional Rhythms.
7. From Lines to Stanzas.
8. Free-Verse Patterns.
9. Internal Order.
10. Varieties of Tone.
11. Poetry: From Craft to Art.


12. Fact and Fiction.
13. Where Stories Come From.
14. A Story by Stephen Minot: “Sausage and Beer.”
15. The Making of a Story.
16. A Short Story by Deborah Joy Corey: “Three Hearts.”
17. Viewpoint: Who's Seeing This?
18. Structure: From Scenes to Plot.
19. A Story by Ann Hood: “Escapes.”
20. Creating Tension.
21. Setting: Where Are We?
22. Dialogue and Thoughts.
23. A Story by Sharon Solwitz: “Obst Vw.”
24. Characterization: Creating Credible People.
25. A Story by Donald Barthelme: “The Balloon.”
26. Liberating the Imagination.
27. Heightened Meaning: Metaphor, Symbol, and Theme.
28. A Story by Jackson Jodie Davies, “Gotta Dance.”
29. Style and Tone.
30. Three Keys to Development: Reading, Writing, and Revising.


31. Drama: A Life Performance.
32. A Play by William Saroyan: “Hello Out There.”
33. The Dramatic Plot.
34. Conflict: The Driving Force of Drama.
35. A Play by Glenn Alterman: “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.”
36. The Nonrealistic Play.
37. Dramatic Characterization.
38. Visual Impact.
39. A Play by Murray Schisgal: “The Cowboy, the Indian, and the Fervent Feminist.”
40. The Voices of Comedy.
41. Dramatic Themes.
42. Developing as a Dramatist.


A: Troubleshooting Guide: Topics for Quick Review.
B: Submitting Work for Publication.
C: Resources for Writers.
Index of Authors and Titles.


FOR STUDENTS What Are Your Goals? Most readers skip prefaces; they want to plunge right in. That will come. If you want to make the most of this text, read this preface. First, here is an important question only you can answer: Why are you interested in creative writing? There are many possible motives. Writing--and especially imaginative writing--is not a science. Everyone approaches it for slightly different reasons. Your answer, though, will determine how you use this text. Here are three of the most common reasons people become involved in creative writing. 1. For many, learning more about literature is the goal. There is no better way to increase your understanding of poetry, fiction, or drama than to write them. Learning by doing is effective in all the arts. And in sports, too. Those who have spent time learning to play the violin have a special understanding of classical music. And what better way is there to appreciate soccer or baseball than to play it? If you write a sonnet or a short story or a play, you will become a better reader. 2. Others hope that creative writing will become a long-term avocation. A great majority of those in creative writing classes or adult workshops don't plan to make writing their primary vocation. They are like those who play a musical instrument seriously but without any intention of joining the Boston Symphony. They devote time to improving their skills, they take part in workshop groups, they may publish from time to time; but writing remains an avocation, not a vocation. 3. For a smaller group, writing has become a central commitment. It is not an easy route. College students may have to slight other courses. When they graduate, they will probably have to enter another field to earn enough to eat and pay the rent. In spite of these challenges, they identify themselves aspoet, writer,ordramatist.To support this notion, they must allot a portion of each day to reading contemporary fiction, poetry, or drama in a close, professional way. They attend readings and conferences, but most important, they write regularly. In short, they are immersed in a particular genre--not just their own work but the best of what is being published as well. Which group do you fall into? If you are just beginning, you may well be in a fourth category: those who are testing the field. They aren't sure just how important writing may become in their lives, but they know that they are not going to find out simply by wondering. They are determined riot to become one of those wistfully passive adults who keep saying, "I've always wanted to write." It may be that you will begin with high expectations and will discover after graduation that you are really a reader rather than a writer. But you will have lost nothing because you will have become a far more perceptive reader than you were before. The pleasure you take in reading will be greater. Or perhaps you will begin with a commitment to one genre and find that your real talent and interest lie in another. Writers, unlike ballet dancers and atomic physicists, don't have to start early and stay on a single track. In writing, anything is possible at any stage and at any age. No aptitude test or teacher can predict how much talent and commitment will develop until you have a body of work to show. What This Textbook Can't Do Reading this textbook hastily won't be of much help. Don't try skimming. It is essential that you take extra time to study the poems, stories, and plays. The text will show you what to look for, but it is no substitute for close, analytical reading of the literary examples themselves. Ultimately, they are your teachers. Next, allow time to write and revise your own work. This or any text can't be a substitute for the effort of actually writing poetry, fiction, and drama. There is a fundamental difference betweencontenttexts

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