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Fiction Writers Handbook

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  55 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This book offers practical advice on every aspect of writing novels and short stories: plotting and narrative development, characterization and dialogue, sources of material, planning an opening, roughing out chapters, using suspense and emotional color, rewriting and highlighting and much more. Examples drawn from the works of outstanding writers, past and present, illust ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 27th 1993 by Harper Perennial (first published October 1st 1979)
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Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Founders and first editors of Story magazine Hallie and Whit Burnett composed this Fiction Writer's Handbook. Though published over 40 years ago, the "practical advice" as well as the contributing writer anecdotes still hold up.

From writer "skills" of observation and habit development to a wonderful section on the novella, the Burnetts' handbook becomes a solid anchor of reference for anyone delving into the dangerous waters of creative prose writing and publishing.

The section on Henry
Harry Doble
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Whit Burnett was the founder of the American literary magazine Story. He and his wife Hallie planned to write a book together on how to write short stories before his death. It didn't materialize until afterwards, when Hallie compiled Fiction Writer's Handbook from her own recollections and his notes, expanding its original scope to include the novel and novella. It is both a practical guide to writing and a collection of anecdotes about the who's who of 20th century American literature. Whit an ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring writers
This book was given to me a long time ago. Essentially, it explores the craft of writing fiction in the classical sense. Topics covered include such things as plot, characters, and writing a punchy first paragraph. The main focus of this book is on the short story, as the writer and her late husband where the driving force behind STORY magazine for nearly thirty years from the 1940's to the 1970's. The novella and the novel are also looked at briefly.

One entertaining aspect of this book is that
Kathy McKenna
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Technologically dated but wonderfully insightful and inspiring for a writer.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, writing
I marked a lot of passages in this book. There's a lot of insight into the art/craft of writing fiction, but also an air of literary superiority and egoism that tainted the book for me. Glad to be done with it.
Fredrick Danysh
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
The author draws upon her long experience as co-editor of Story Magazine to give advice and tips on writing fiction. She discusses the elements and addresses both short stories and full length novels.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book on writing for beginners...and for veterans.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Especially good in its focus on shorter fiction, this book covers a lot of basics as well as philosophical discussion about the purpose of writing.
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to have. It has exercises about how to write novel and what mistakes to avoid. It's a good book to use as a reference.
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