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How Fiction Works: The Last Word on Writing Fiction, from Basics to the Fine Points

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  53 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
In How Fiction Works, Oakley Hall expands upon and broadens the instruction that made The Art and Craft of Novel Writing so successful. This new book covers all forms and lengths of fiction, probes deeper into every topic, offers new examples and includes exercises and the end of every chapter. He explains the basic and finer points of the fiction-writing process from word ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 5th 2001 by Story Press (first published January 5th 2000)
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Edward
How Fiction Works by Oakley Hall is not to be confused with the more acclaimed How Fiction Works by James Wood (who is in turn not to be confused with the actor James Woods). Of the two the latter book is superior, being more precise and nuanced in its analysis. However this book by Oakley Hall is more comprehensive, though really it's little more than a detailed overview of the subject. Hall chooses examples for his analysis from literary fiction, which I appreciate. This is not a "how to write ...more
Charles
Jun 07, 2013 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, writing
Part One: The Dramatic Method, is full of useful analyses of the tools of fiction and loaded with examples from a wide range of authors. While it's true that Hall uses some excerpts from his own fiction to illustrate points, this didn't feel indulgent to me, as these were a fraction of the whole and served the same purpose as all the other excerpts from a variety of authors. I imagine I'll come back to part one of this book as a reference in the future.

Part Two: The Forms of Fiction, is less use
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
An editor once told me that if you're going to take advice on writing, take it either from name-bestselling writers or gatekeepers such as acquiring editors or agents--not necessarily anyone who writes for Writer's Digest or has taught a writing class. Well, Hall is a published writer, but unlike other authors of books on fiction craft on my shelves (ie Stephen King and Elizabeth George) neither a "name" author nor one who I've read and personally admire. There's not much I have read elsewhere i ...more
Jenny Perry
Mar 27, 2012 Jenny Perry rated it liked it
Hall loved to illustrate points by quoting his own prolific oeuvre- though the points were made it didn't much inspire me to read his fiction!

Anyway, this is a great book for literature lovers, "technical gobbledygook" is clearly explained, and loads of great writers get to have their say, whether it's Garcia Marquez on the adverb, or Wilkie Collins on point of view narrators.

Most writers and readers will intuitively know all these points- but it's still a fun and intelligent read, with good adv
...more
Bill Lalonde
Disappointing. Long on examples and short on instruction, and what there was of the latter tended towards the dubious and the self-contradictory. If you know enough to muddle through the chaff to find the few decent grains, then you don't need the book anyway.
Joe
Apr 05, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it
This book starts out explaining concepts and giving examples of each. The examples increase in length and quantity while the explanations decrease as the book progresses.

-Joe-
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I found this book useful, and I find myself turning back through it.
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Oakley Hall also wrote under the nom de plume of O.M. Hall and Jason Manor.

Oakley Maxwell Hall was an American novelist. He was born in San Diego, California, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and served in the Marines during World War II. Some of his mysteries were published under the pen names "O.M. Hall" and "Jason Manor." Hall received his Master of Fine Arts in English fr
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