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Crafting Novels & Short Stories: The Complete Guide to Writing Great Fiction

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Learn How to Create Stories That Captivate Agents, Editors, and Readers Alike!

Inside you'll find the tools you need to build strong characters, keep your plots moving, master the art of dialogue, choose the right point of view, and more.

This comprehensive book on the art of novel and short story writing is packed with advice and instruction from best-selling authors and wr
Paperback, 355 pages
Published January 12th 2012 by Writer's Digest Books (first published December 15th 2011)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  266 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Florin Pitea
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A collection of Writer's Digest articles on the craft of fiction writing, this book covers, in turn, each stage in the process, from planning to writing the first draft to revising to submitting the manuscript for publication. Also, special sections contain practical advice on how to integrate writing routines into everyday life. Recommended.
May 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnt-finish
To be fair, I'm not even 100 pages in yet, but this book and it's "tips" have irked me on almost every single page so far. Especially as I read it right after Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (which is a million miles better, more instructive, and to a higher level), this book pales in comparison, and gives the kind of writing advice that Reading Like a Writer warned us to remain wary about - particularly how this book tells you many things you should not do, when in Reading Like a Writer ...more
Dee Waite
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just finished reading Crafting Novels & Short Stories. Excellent book full of concrete information. Holds the tools you need to build strong characters, keep your plot moving, master the art of dialogue, choose the right point of view, and more. Highly recommend.
Andrew Post
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read how-to-write books before, but this might be the most singularly helpful writing book I've ever read. The chapters are accessibly short, and offer a refreshing variety of voices and opinions and tips. Moreover the book covers, as far as I can see, every single aspect of the writing process, as well as helpful little asides about research, work-life balance, motivation, and so on. The book is entirely unpretentious and not condescending or supercilious in the slightest, and makes the wr ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst instructional material I've ever read. Skip it completely, as there is lots of better books about this subject out there. For one, the author thinks being antisocial and being a sociopath are the same thing. Secondly, when the author gets to the subject of writing a good villain, the author recommends making your villain have several mental disorders to make them dislikeable and to give them an excuse to behave irrationally. Are you for real? Thirdly, the author writes P ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
There are some good pointers here as well as information you can go back to at different stages in your writing. It is repetitive. I felt much of the information is relative to the type of writer you are and many of the contributors directly contradict one another as to what is necessary and what is not (art vs. form).
May 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book has a TON of repeat information... I mean the cut chapter one out of the Writers Digest series Write Great Fiction and pasted it to make this book. If you want more than a summary, than try the series mentioned. If you are not a beginner and have read writing books, you will likely use this as a coaster.
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are three types of information in this book: industry and pro tips, stuff you might know but it's helpful to have exemplified, and information that you know but could use a refresher on.

There categories are helpful as are the multiple authors (hence multiple perspectives). Unless you're regularly selling blockbusters, you can probably find some help in here.
Kristian Thoroughgood
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of essays and webposts from WritersDigest, this is an excellent writing advice book. Solid tips, easy to read and understand, I chewed through this in a few days because it's written in an engaging & instructional style.

Would recommend.
Kasie Whitener
Jan 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
I skipped around because from beginning-to-end wasn't getting it done. But even just choosing what to read I had a hard time wanting to read this book. It was just boring mostly.
Grant Hayward
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an extremely helpful and practical guide for any wanna-be writer out there. It's basically a collection of instructional/informational articles by various best-selling authors on various topics, focusing on how to create interesting plots and characters, how to weave layers of conflict together, how to control your writing and write with purpose. Basically, how to be a better writer.

Not all articles are equally helpful, and as it's a compilation from various authors, some opinions will o
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Although it took me a while to read this, overall I think this book is good. Not horrible, not perfect. It contains many infos which will remind you those blog articles you can find. Some of the articles were useless, some boring, but I found some really interesting ones, along with the few useful exercises. I wouldn't recommend to read this as a normal book from start to finish. Just pick a topic you are interested in and read.
Lauren Kayes
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Mixed bag. The title is misleading--I expected more information specifically geared toward short stories, but there's very little, and a lot of the chapters address genre fiction like romance and mystery which aren't relevant to my work/interests. Still, there were a handful of helpful gems, so not a bad read on the whole. Take what works and leave the rest.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good book on writing. It's one of those "Well duh" kind of things, but am I honestly always thinking about reducing adverbs, speeding up slow scenes, talking to my characters and asking them questions, finding ways to challenge my minor characters AND SO ON AND SO ON? No, it only feels like common sense when someone reminds you it's common sense.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one, but to be fair, I began in the middle and only read the parts that I felt I needed currently. I enjoy having the different perspectives from various writers and I felt their information was useful. This would be worth having on the reference shelf at home.
Good characters never say anything mean? But those are my favorite types of characters! Mostly enjoyed this for the writing exercises, because I could have a million of prompts and ideas and never be satisfied.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A compilation of advices from different authors will result in repeated mantras, but there are more good and practical tips than bad ones.
Elisabeth Bridges
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing resource! Stuffed with information on all kinds of topics.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Raven Black
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I finished this book but most of the information in already knew I wanted new informati N.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Judging from the permissions page, this book is a collection of articles that previously appeared in Writer's Digest Magazine with an occasional excerpt from a book published by Writer's Digest. Obviously the authors didn't coordinate their articles with each other, so there's some overlap in what they cover and the occasional contradiction. Nor does any topic get covered in much depth, so "Complete Guide to Writing Great Fiction" is an exaggeration. I'd suggest borrowing this book before decidi ...more
Raimey Gallant
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So many talented writers contributed to this writers' tool. I was jumping back and forth between chapters, so I started putting check marks beside the chapters I read. It's now to the point where most of the chapters have at least two check marks beside them, because I find the information so helpful to revisit.
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Full of condensed information and topics, as well as so much wonderful and much-needed re-assurance that a novice writer is coming along fine. I'm very impressed with the quality of all the Writers' Digest books I've read so far.
Larry K
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
helpful. slightly inspiring but mostly technical. some pieces are better than others and some pieces make the whole process of writing and publishing seem like an overwhelming herculean task that may end in total defeat.
Bruce Smith
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
It is a collection of various authors, and some of the articles are repetitive while others are contradictory. But I also learned a few things, so I rate it as useful, and those sections will be reread.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Others have capably described the approach, format, and intent. IMHO it succeeds in accomplishing its purpose.
Brett Buckley
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A wealth of all sorts of writing advice, full of practical stuff i've actually used.
rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2018
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Oct 26, 2012
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