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On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft
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On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The pieces of a satisfying novel or story seem to fit together so effortlessly, so seamlessly, that it's easy to find yourself wondering, "How on earth did the author do this?" The answer is simple: He sat alone at his desk, considered an array of options, and made smart, careful choices.

In On Writing Fiction, award-winning author and respected creative writing professor D
Paperback, 241 pages
Published July 22nd 2011 by Writer's Digest Books (first published June 1st 2011)
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4.26  · 
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 ·  70 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Nov 18, 2014 rated it liked it
well, I wouldn't say this was a complete waste of time, nor would I say it should be the next Bible of creative writing. it's required reading for a class next quarter, so I got it and read it early. there isn't enough substance in this book to constitute its state as a book. the chapter about flow had jauss blatantly admitting he had no concrete definition for the word as he struggled around that glaring fact. the point-of-view chapter was the only one that really changed my perspective (pun in ...more
Rod Raglin
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Courting creative uncertainty  
 What spawns creativity? Are some people born creative and others not? How can you become more creative?  
In his book On Writing Fiction – Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft, author, poet and teacher, David Jauss, suggests that “not knowing is crucial to art; that without uncertainty the imagination simply does not come into play.
Think about it. The act of creating is defined as “to bring into existence”. If everything about a subject is known to you
Mark Dostert
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Can't recommend this one highly enough. Jauss brings in everything (history/philosophy/linguistics) to the study of writing craft. His chapter on POV is the most helpful material I've ever read on POV.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The essay on epiphanies and the essay on how to arrange a short story collection are brilliant.
William Adams
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-how-to
The seven essays here are thought-provoking and clarifying, well-written and insightful, by a long-time teacher of creative writing. It is perhaps the best craft book I’ve read in a year. It’s not about fundamentals however, so if you’re looking for tips on how to develop a character or plot a story, you won’t find them here. This book concerns the deeper intricacies of the craft for someone who has already learned the basics.

In the second essay Jauss focuses on the third person narrator, which
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
So a friend suggested this one. It's written by a local professor and her favorite teacher. It's written in essays that I can definitely see as being taught as lessons in class. The books he references are typical college literary classics (some of which I haven't and likely never will read) but while it can be a touch dry it's entirely made up for by the fact that it really isn't covering the same old basics typical writing books do.

Or, I should say, the topics might be the same but what he has
Feb 10, 2014 added it
Hard to assess such a complex book on a first read, but all I can say for now is if you're willing to consider that some rules and "fact" about the writing process might be up for debate, Mr. Jauss has some things to say to you. If I get a chance to peruse it more thoroughly, I'll be sure to provide a more thorough review.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've reviewed each of the chapters of this book in my Write or Wrong blog, links to which can be found at
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
The author believes that much of the advice given to aspiring fiction writers is wrong and provides his own analysis. It is somewhat difficult to read and understand although he gives many examples.
Deb Vanasse
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended reading for any serious writer of fiction.
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“He had two lives: an open one, seen and known by all who needed to know it, full of conventional truth and conventional falsehood, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances; and another life that went on in secret. And through some strange, perhaps accidental, combination of circumstances, everything that was of interest and importance to him, everything that was essential to him, everything about which he felt sincerely and did not deceive himself, everything that constituted the core of his life was going on concealed from others; while all that was false, the shell in which he hid to cover the truth … went on in the open. Judging others by himself, he did not believe what he saw, and always fancied that every man led his real, most interesting life under cover of secrecy as under cover of night.” 2 likes
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