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Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,086 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Gotham Writers' Workshop has mastered the art of teaching the craft of writing in a way that is practical, accessible, and entertaining. Now the techniques of this renowned school are available in this book.

Here you'll find:
- The fundamental elements of fiction craft-character, plot, point of view, etc.-explained clearly and completely
- Key concepts illustrated with pas
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 16, 2011 LAnn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
When I expected a book for writing, I expected a long list of tedious grammar rules and endless lectures about good versus bad, great versus crap, good versus evil - the writing guide cliches. Instead, this writer's guide touches on anything and anything there really is about writing, from characters to story to plot development to publishing. Even formatting a manuscript can be found hidden in these pages.

This writer's guide takes the reader from the normal typed nonsense of a guide with no bre
Nov 19, 2008 Holly rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful. It's filled with so much useful information. I found it very unique that each chapter was written by a different person.

It has everything; from characters, to setting, to finding a voice. Maybe the most helpful chapter of all is the last one. It gives you tips on everything from magazines that publish short stories, to finding an agent. It even gives you sample query letters for both short story and a novel.

Throughout the book there are also exercises you can do to pract
Jan 06, 2015 Irs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Como no es un libro de ficción, sino didáctico, lo llevo leyendo desde el verano pasado sin mucha continuidad. Es muy útil tanto para los que sientan curiosidad por el mundillo de la narrativa como para los que se estén planteando ejercer como escritores de forma profesional. En todo caso, tiene material muy interesante al que conviene echar un vistazo, ya sea por curiosidad o diversión o como planteamiento inicial para una carrera literaria.
Miguel Jiménez
May 13, 2016 Miguel Jiménez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: escritura
Este es el libro más completo que he leído sobre escribir ficción. Basta ver cómo se fabrica cada uno de los apartados para impresionarse. Nunca creí que las enseñanzas de la escritura se plasmaran en un libro como éste (pese a leer Para ser novelista, La práctica del relato, Taller de escritura creativa-Marcela Guijosa y Zen en el arte de escribir). Por algo se dice que la Gotham Writers' Workshop es la mejor escuela de escritura en Estados Unidos.

Y es que cada uno de los elementos de la ficció
Santiago Eximeno
Oct 04, 2016 Santiago Eximeno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excelente, uno de los mejores libros que he leído sobre el arte (o la artesanía) de escribir.
Rebecca Graf
Aug 18, 2012 Rebecca Graf rated it it was amazing
If you want to be a writer, you need to realize that there is a certain degree of having the gift of writing and a certain amount of knowledge that needs to be learned. The part you learn helps you fine tune the gift and improve what you are already good at. Gotham Writer’s Workshop: Writing Fiction is a book to do just that.

This is a non-fiction book that is designed to help you as a writer improve on your art. Chapters cover characters, plots, descriptions, dialogue, setting, voice, pace, them
Phil Giunta
Mar 18, 2011 Phil Giunta rated it really liked it
After publishing my first novel, I wanted to achieve a deeper understanding of writing fiction. You never stop learning, no matter your stature as a writer. This book is very informative and has helped to make the outline and first draft of my second novel much stronger. There are wonderful exercises and great explanations and examples for such topics as character, dialogue, POV, plot, story and the sometime nebulous theme. I would recommend this book as invaluable asset to all those looking to ...more
Jakefan Efp
Davvero carino. Non gli ho messo le quattro stelle perché in certi punti non sono d'accordo e in certi altri mi pare un po' tirato via; ho anche l'impressione che non tutti i contributori siano allo stesso livello. Comunque lo consiglierei sicuramente per iniziare. E' un buon primo manuale di scrittura creativa perché tocca tutti i basics di tutti i principali argomenti, si può leggere prima di passare a roba più spessa e non mi dispiacciono gli esercizi proposti.
Include un capitolo finale sulla
Aug 21, 2008 Nascha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
It took me awhile to actually sit down and read this book from beginning to end. Oh, I started it a few times, but I think I was overwhelmed by the wealth of advice it gives and at the time I was procrastinating on some of the stuff I'd been writing.

Nevertheless, I was very pleased with this book. I think it's an excellent guide to the nuts and bolts of writing fiction. It's definitely a book I'll be returning to again and again. I highly recommend it.
Dee Waite
Jun 15, 2012 Dee Waite rated it it was amazing
I think out of all of my self-help books on writing, this has to be the most treasured. This book just works for me. I love the simple approach, explanations, examples, and advice. It all makes sense to me when I read this book - so, as you can guess, I read it often. I've only had it about three months, but it already looks like it's at least two years old and used regularly. You can't go wrong here.
Maravilloso, práctico, indispensable. Si escribes o quieres hacerlo este libro no puede faltar bien cerca de tu mesa de trabajo. Yo desde luego pienso releerlo mucho y seguramente me haga con la edición en papel para poder trastearlo físicamente, pero su versión digital me ha dado una gran sorpresa. Muy bien dividido en secciones, con muchos ejercicios de lo más útil.
Feb 26, 2008 MB rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, I'll pull this out and reread all or part of it. It gets me into a writing mode, and it broadens my creative thinking. I really like the non-stuffy tone it's written in, and it's one of those books I can pick up, turn to a random page and find a little gem of information or an exercise that I need at the moment.
Monserrat Flores Yutronic
Es un libro maravilloso práctico, claro y completísimo.
Alejandro Dádileb
Creo que es el libro de cómo escribir ficción más completo y didáctico que he leído, posee ejemplos, ejercicios, típs o pautas sugeridas para llegar a buen puerto. Se podría decir que es buen complemento con el de Orsson Scott Card, siendo este una indispensable guía didáctica para escritores.
Me hubiese sido mucho más útil si no me embarcara en esto a la mitad de mi vida, cuando ya sé buena parte de lo que sugiere.
Es extremadamente útil para conocer otras formas de organizar la escritura, o me
Gemma Foo
Gonna read this in my own time :)
Clare Tanner
Oct 12, 2016 Clare Tanner rated it it was amazing
A must, must, must for anyone wanting to better their own writing! It is filled to the brim with tips from brainstorming ideas to how to format your work for an agent. Certainly, no holds barred with its truthfulness in writing circles, but it gives information on retreats and guilds towards the end. I picked it up and couldn't put it down.
Bernie Gourley
Dec 09, 2013 Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it
This workbook-style guide to writing fiction is put out by the well-known New York City creative writing school. With 11 chapters, it delivers lessons on all the elements of fiction including: character development, plotting, establishing point of view, honing description, building realistic dialogue, varying pacing, establishing voice, determining a work’s theme, and carrying out revisions. It also has a chapter that goes into the business of writing (as opposed to the craft of writing which is ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the pull quotes on the cover of this book (from a review in The Writer) says: "Explains all the basics of writing fiction in a simple, easy-to-understand manner." That's an excellent summary.

For a beginning writer, this will be tremendously valuable as an introduction to the important factors you need to consider when writing fiction: character, plot, point of view, description, dialogue, setting, pacing, voice, theme, and revision. (There's a closing chapter on the business of writing,
Eric Elston
Mar 30, 2016 Eric Elston rated it liked it
There are two major things you need to possess if you want to be a good writer. First of all, you need to have the gift - the ability to artfully create something out of nothing, in a way that flows effortlessly onto the page. If it isn't natural to you, there isn't much you can do to obtain it, other that to read a hell of a lot, and write a hell of a lot.

The second thing you need, is the knowledge of how to structure a story. What level of detail do the characters need? How much do you include
Hilfreich für Anfänger und Fortgeschrittene.

Schritt für Schritt werden in diesem Buch die Schreibprozesse erläutert. Dabei wird dem Leser nicht vorgehalten, wie er schreiben soll, sondern viel eher, wie er seinen eigenen Stil findet und verbessern kann. In das eigentliche Schreiben greifen die Autoren nicht ein. Vom Dialog bishin zur Charakterentwicklung und den richtigen Beschreibungen werden die wichtigsten Disziplinen erläutert und mit kleinen Übungen versehen. Die Kapitel sind überschaulich
Jan 01, 2014 Dexter rated it really liked it
It really is a very good book on writing. Some of it's just silly (even my fiction teacher says so), but a lot of it is useful, and it can definitely serve as a good checklist/guide/reference when writing. Whether you have questions/doubts on things like setting or dialogue or if you're uncertain what to do with something once you've finished it, this book can probably tell you something.

But I still believe that there's not always a wrong or right way to write, and this book actually says that t
Jan 17, 2012 Readitnweep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An excellent, organized book that clarifies how to tell your stories and why certain things should be considered, such as character, conflict and theme. Rather than just telling you to do something, this book tells you why and displays examples. It's easy to use repeatedly as a reference and includes checklists of things to look at in your writing.

As with any other book on the process of writing, the reader has to filter what he or she will find helpful; using questionnaires to develop character
Nov 29, 2014 Allison rated it really liked it
This was a recommendation of a writer I respect a lot, to read during my own editing process. While you can't expect any book like this to have entirely shocking, new advice you've never thought of before, this guide covers a ton of ground in a practical yet thoughtful, nuts-and-bolts kinda way. In particular, I appreciated the obvious thought that went into the book's structure--it's divided by item, like dialogue vs. character development vs. structuring a plot, so you can focus in on one aspe ...more
Jose Lomo
Feb 24, 2016 Jose Lomo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este no es el primer manual sobre escritura que leo pero sí es el mejor hasta la fecha. Ofrece lo que promete, una recopilación de consejos para orientarte en el proceloso mar de la escritura, pero añade un plus importante de frescura, lenguaje directo y honestidad. Es difícil acabar el libro y no plantearte de forma profunda la vocación, ya que están expuestos los pros y los contras de la profesión con un exquisito equilibrio, gracias a una panorámica amplia del ecosistema editorial. Sus consej ...more
Joshua Novalis
Sep 02, 2011 Joshua Novalis rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: English Students, Writers
Recommended to Joshua by: Dr. Jody Nusholtz
An excellent primer to the world of Creative Writing! Each chapter is written by a different GWW teacher, and covers a different element of fiction(Character, Plot, Description, Theme, Voice, etc.). These chapters are informative, entertaining, and from the perspective of actual writers, giving it life. The book does a fantastic job of demonstrating what makes fiction good, and the key concepts that an aspiring writer should adhere to as they dive into the rabbit hole of fiction.

The first half o
Adolphus Writer
Apr 02, 2015 Adolphus Writer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
GWW covers the fiction writing craft–character, plot, point of view, etc.–suitable for all formats: short stories, essays, novels, etc. If I had to guess, this is one of the sources from which the myriads of writing books on the market draw their lessons. GWW purports to give the same materials you might get at an expensive writers workshop (except without the feedback, or the expense).

My major take away from GWW is: rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite a third time. The idea of writing a draft, rewrit
May 04, 2013 Zac rated it really liked it
A nice, easy to read instructional book for writers. Each chapter is a different lesson taught by a different author. I felt that it got my gears moving and provided clear insights into such topics as character, plot, dialogue, theme, and point of view. The book provides plenty of easy to follow examples from many well known classics as well as a short story found in the appendix. There are plenty of writing exercises along the way, but found it just as effective on the days where I only felt l ...more
Jan 11, 2015 kceyagi rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
I really enjoyed this book about writing. I read it from the beginning and straight through doing all of the exercises except the ones in the very last chapter when it talked about contacting agents. This book is a really good primer for beginning writers and also writers may know the basics already, and need a refresher. The fact that some of the advice/lessons offered in this book echoed what I learned in some writing classes I've taken is proof that this book is legit. Def recommend to folks ...more
So in short, Gotham's Writing Fiction is really excellent.


What I think excels in this book above other standards (though Writing Fiction for Dummies is actually really great, too) is its explanations of the examples it provides. They break down everything from similes to the necessity of plot points and give examples of good similes and similes that you wish you could burn.

I definitely suggest this book just as the added bonus on how to fiction and how to fiction well without purpling
Keren Verna
Oct 26, 2014 Keren Verna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Estará en mi lista de libros de cabecera, en esos que cada vuelvo para aprender cosas nuevas. Y sobre todo, alejado de los libros que nos terminan minando la autoestima, esta obra nos alienta a seguir escribiendo. Cuando leía un capítulo, incluso a mitad de él, cerraba el libro y escribía. Fue un libro que me llenó de energía creativa.
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Goodreads Librari...: Set as foreign-language editions 5 27 Oct 17, 2014 07:35AM  
  • Robert's Rules Of Writing: 101 Unconventional Lessons Every Writer Needs to Know
  • The Write-Brain Workbook
  • Fiction Writer's Workshop
  • The Writer's Idea Book
  • Your First Novel: A Published Author and a Top Agent Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction
  • Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
  • One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
  • Description & Setting
  • What Would Your Character Do?: Personality Quizzes for Analyzing Your Characters
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication & Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
  • The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer's Life
  • The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Writing Fiction and Nonfiction

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“I like blank paper. To meet people I find interesting. Writing puts me into a world that has not been written yet. I spend much of my time contemplating love and death. When I am writing a surge of complete happiness takes over. To make readers hear the sound of their own heartbeats, that sound that whispers up to us: you are alive. When I manage to turn pages and pages of crap into a little bit of art, I feel like that girl in the Diamonds Are Forever ad. Writing gives me permission to be a child and to play with words the way that children play with blocks or twigs or mud. Writing makes me a god, each new page enabling me to create and destroy as many worlds as I please. It allows me to spy on my neighbors. It’s the only socially acceptable way to be a compulsive liar. I want to cleanse the past. To discover, to express, to celebrate, to acknowledge, to witness, to remember who I am. I find out what might have been, what should have happened, and what I fear will happen. It’s a means of asking questions, though the answers may be as puzzling as a rune. This question drives me crazy. There is nothing else I want to do more. My soul will not be still until the words are written on paper. Because I can. Because I must. I can’t not. If I don’t I will explode. I want to be good at something and I’ve tried everything else.” 4 likes
“While passing through an obscure nook of Notre Dame cathedral, Victor Hugo noticed the Greek work for fate carved in the stone. He imagined a tormented soul driven to engrave this word. From this seed sprang his monumental novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” 1 likes
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