Writing Fiction : A Guide to Narrative Craft

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: Longman
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The most widely used and respected book on writing fiction,Writing Fiction guides the writer from first inspiration to final revision. Supported by an abundance exercises, this guide/anthology explores and integrates the elements of fiction while offering practical techniques and concrete examples. A focus on the writing process in its entirety provides a comprehensive guide to writing fiction, approaching distinct elements in separate chapters while building on what has been covered earlier. Topics include free-writing to revision, plot, style, characterization, dialogue, atmosphere, imagery, and point of view. An anthology of diverse and contemporary short stories followed by suggestions for discussion and writing exercises, illustrates concepts while offering variety in pacing and exposure to this increasingly popular form. The book also discusses key issues including writing workshops, using autobiography as a basis for fiction, using action in stories, using dialogue, and maintaining point of view. The sixth edition also features more short short stories than any previous edition and includes quotation boxes that offer advice and inspirational words from established writers on a wide range of topics--such as writing from experience, story structure, openings and endings, and revision. For those interested in developing their creative writing skills.

Table of Contents



To Instructors: About This Book.

To Students: About the Workshop.

1. Whatever Works: The Writing Process.
Get Started.
Journal Keeping.
The Computer.
The Critic: A Caution.
Choosing a Subject.
Keep Going.
A Word About Theme.

Shitty First Drafts, Anne Lamott.
American History, Judith Ortiz Cofer.

2. The Tower and the Net: Story Form, Plot, and Structure.
Conflict, Crisis, and Resolution.
Connection and Disconnection.
Story Form as a Check Mark.
Story and Plot.
The Short Story and the Novel.
Reading as Writers.

The Use of Force, William Carlos Williams.
How Far She Went, Mary Hood.
Silver Water, Amy Bloom.
Happy Endings, Margaret Atwood.
Girl, Jamaica Kincaid.
No One's a Mystery, Elizabeth Tallent.
20/20, Linda Brewer.

3. Seeing is Believing: Showing and Telling.
Significant Detail.
The Active Voice.
Prose Rhythm.

Linoleum Roses, Sandra Cisneros.
The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien.
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, Joyce Carol Oates.

4. Building Character: Characterization, Part I.
The Indirect Methods of Character Presentation.
Authorial Interpretation.
Interpretation By Another Character.

Yours, Mary Robison.
Gryphon, Charles Baxter.
The Visible Man, Elizabeth Stuckey-French.

5. The Flesh Made Word: Characterization, Part II.
The Direct Methods of Character Presentation.
Format and Style.
Text and Subtext.
Conflict Between Methods of Presentation.
Creating a Group or Crowd.
Character: A Summary.

Hills Like White Elephants, Ernest Hemingway.
Aren't You Happy For Me?, Richard Bausch.

Writing Assignments.

6. Long Ago and Far Away: Fictional Place and Time.
Setting and Atmosphere.
Harmony and Conflict Between Character and Background.
Setting and Character.
Setting and Emotion.
Symbolic and Suggestive Setting.
Alien and Familiar Setting.
An Exercise in Setting.
Some Aspects of Narrative Time.
Summary and Scene.
Revising Summary and Scene.
Slow Motion.
Further Thoughts on Openings and Endings.

Mount Olive, Monifa Love.
Dark Corner, Robert Morgan.
Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People, Lorrie Moore.
Bullet in The Brain, Tobias Wolff.

7. Call Me Ishmael: Point of View, Part I.
Who Speaks?
Third Person.
Second Person.
First Person.
To Whom?
The Reader.
Another Character.
The Self.
In What Form?

Orientation, Daniel Orozco.
The Comedian, John L'Heureux.
Lectures On How You Never Lived Back Home, Evelina Galang.

8. Assorted Liars: Point of View, Part II.
At What Distance?
Spatial and Temporal Distance.
With What Limitations?
The Unreliable Narrator.
An Exercise in Unreliability.
Unreliability in Other Viewpoints.

Story, Lydia Davis.
Snow, Julia Alvarez.
Beautiful My Mane in the Wind, Catherine Petroski.
Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot, Robert Olen Butler.
Who's Irish?, Gish Jen.
Screentime, Stephen Jones.

9. Is and Is Not: Comparison.
Types of Metaphor and Simile.
Metaphoric Faults to Avoid.

San Lan, Samantha Chang.
Menagerie, Charles Johnson.
Eyes of a Blue Dog, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

10. I Gotta Use Words When I Talk to You: Theme.
Idea and Morality in Theme.
How Fictional Elements Contribute to Theme.

A Man Told Me the Story of His Life, Grace Paley.

Developing Theme as You Write.
Ralph the Duck, Frederick Busch.
Wave, John Holman.
This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, Sherman Alexie.

11. Play It Again, Sam: Revision.
Worry It and Walk Away.
Revision Questions.
Further Suggestions For Revision.
Examples Of The Revision Process.

Dud, Pamela Painter.

Appendix A: Kinds Of Fiction.

Appendix B: Suggestions For Further Reading.



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