Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
A bestseller through six editions, Writing Fiction by novelists Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French explores the elements of fiction, providing practical writing techniques and concrete examples. Written in a tone that is personal and non-prescriptive, the text encourages writers to develop proficiency through each step of the writing process, offering an...more
Used by creative writing programs all over the U.S., this book pretty much covers everything about the craft. The contemporary short stories at the end of each chapter were really good, especially starting from Chapter 4 with "Mule Killers" by Lydia Peelle.
The main focus of the book is literary fiction and is admittedly biased against genre fiction with a convincing reason: "whereas writing literary fiction can teach you how to write good genre fiction, writing ...more
I used this both as a student and teacher. The examples are incredible.
Update, Aug 2017:
I just bought the 8th edition of this book, and started rereading several chapters again. (I also went back and reread 10 years ago.) Even an experienced writer can really benefit from a quick refresher on techniques I've left behind. We each fall into our own writing ways, doing the stuff that has worked for us, and it's remarkable how many things I'm NOT taking ...more
This text is full of bland approaches to writing and repeats the same things I've read in other books. The exercises are tedious and boring; there is no sense of adventure or experimentation. It's a methodical, bland, autopsy of ...more
First the good stuff. Despite being a "textbook," this book doesn't come across as a "hard" read. It's organized nicely with its ...more
Overall, this is a good textbook for the undergrad English major. I would suggest being cautious with the author's opinions, ...more
This book is good for a class setting, if the professor is providing supplemental material. This comes as a very step-by-step manual, but doesn’t really touch on all the bases. It also doesn’t leave much room for authorial decisions.
I’m sure there are better guides out there, so I won’t be too quick to recommend this one.
"Although these are tricks that can be taught and learned, they partake of the essential nature of creativity, in which several elements are joined to produce not merely a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, but ...more
Bonnie Friedman, "Message from a Cloud of Flies: On Distraction"
Annie Dillard from The Writing Life
William Carlos Williams "The Use of Force"
Frank O'Connor "Guests of the Nation"
Tim O'Brien from "The Things They Carried"
Joyce Carol Oates "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
John Edgar Wideman "The Tambourine Lady"
Mary Robison "Yours"
Charles D'Ambrosio "The Point"
Tobias Wolff "Hunters in the Snow"
Toni Cade Bambara "My Man Bovanne"
Gabriel Garcia Marquez "A Very Old Man with ...more
Chapter 3 - Showing and Telling, actually had some really good tips of conveying emotion and making scenery or flashbacks real.
I’d like to say it is, but something in the voice of the book grates on me. Is it the phrasing that indicates (in my mind at least) a superior tone? Is it the sense of absolute conviction? Is it the literary/main stream focus of the examples? Is it the wordiness that doesn’t seem like is says much? Is it that so much of the book’s 400 pages is dedicated to short stories rather than discussions ...more
The stories, too, are diverse in terms ...more