Denis's Reviews > Beginnings, Middles & Ends

Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress
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's review
Dec 26, 2009

it was amazing

Like the title says, Kress concentrates on beginnings, middles, and ends, on how to flow from one to the next, and of course she dissects each. She doesn't go into great detail about scene, character, dialogue, etc, as much as other writing books I've read, but she does touch on most aspects.

This writing book serves as a great roadmap. It's very practical and accessible. And btw, it applies to genre and mainstream literary, and both the short-story and the novel.

The gist of this reference book is to instill in the writer the need to effectively set up the implicit promise you make to your reader in the first two scenes of your story, how it should be developed in the middle, and fulfilled in the end.

That's the short of it, but this small book is drenched with useful and interesting information for writers of short fiction and especially the novel, in my opinion. It has resonated with this reader/writer, big time. I highly recommend it but especially for beginner novelists.

Here's the book's table of contents (with many important sub sections not shown here):

Introduction: The Story In Your Head

PART I: Beginnings

1. The Very Beginning: Your Opening Scene
2. The Later Beginning: Your Second Scene
3. Help for Beginnings: Early Revision

PART II: Middles

4. The Middle: Staying on Track
5. Under Development: Your Characters at Midstory
6. Help for Middles: Getting Unstuck

PART III: Endings

7. Satisfying Endings: Delivering on the Promise
8. The Very End: Last Scene, Last Paragraph, Last Sentence
9. Help for Endings: The Last Hurrah

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