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Gotham Writers' Workshop Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Gotham Writers' Workshop has mastered the art of teaching the craft of writing in a way that is practical, accessible, and entertaining. Now the techniques of this renowned school are available in this book.
Here you'll find: - The fundamental elements of fiction craft-character, plot, point of view, etc.-explained clearly and completely - Key concepts illustrated with pas
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Paperback, 291 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2003)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,470 ratings  ·  147 reviews


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LAnn
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
When I expected a book for writing, I expected a long list of tedious grammar rules and endless lectures about good versus bad, great versus crap, good versus evil - the writing guide cliches. Instead, this writer's guide touches on anything and anything there really is about writing, from characters to story to plot development to publishing. Even formatting a manuscript can be found hidden in these pages.

This writer's guide takes the reader from the normal typed nonsense of a guide with no bre
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Holly
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful. It's filled with so much useful information. I found it very unique that each chapter was written by a different person.

It has everything; from characters, to setting, to finding a voice. Maybe the most helpful chapter of all is the last one. It gives you tips on everything from magazines that publish short stories, to finding an agent. It even gives you sample query letters for both short story and a novel.

Throughout the book there are also exercises you can do to pract
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Jay  The Crippled God
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was the main reference and complementary resource for my "Fiction-I" Gotham writers' writing workshop and it shall forever be a reference in reading about writing<3 Thank you for such a wonderful book.
Salem Lorot
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writer-s-craft
Great tips on writing fiction. When I have my first draft, these are the kinds of helpful lessons to put into practice.
محمد
Table of Contents

1. Fiction: The What, How, and Why of It, by Alexander Steele
2. Character: Casting Shadows, by Brandi Reissenweber
3. Plot: A Question of Focus, by David Harris Ebenbach
4. Point of View: The Complete Menu, by Valerie Vogrin
5. Description: To Picture in Words, by Chris Lombardi
6. Dialogue: Talking It Up, by Allison Amend
7. Setting and Pacing:
8. Voice: The Sound of a Story, by Hardy Griffin
9. Theme: So What's Your Story Really About?, by Terry Bain
10. Revision: Real Writers Revis
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Rebecca Graf
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you want to be a writer, you need to realize that there is a certain degree of having the gift of writing and a certain amount of knowledge that needs to be learned. The part you learn helps you fine tune the gift and improve what you are already good at. Gotham Writer’s Workshop: Writing Fiction is a book to do just that.

This is a non-fiction book that is designed to help you as a writer improve on your art. Chapters cover characters, plots, descriptions, dialogue, setting, voice, pace, them
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Phil Giunta
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
After publishing my first novel, I wanted to achieve a deeper understanding of writing fiction. You never stop learning, no matter your stature as a writer. This book is very informative and has helped to make the outline and first draft of my second novel much stronger. There are wonderful exercises and great explanations and examples for such topics as character, dialogue, POV, plot, story and the sometime nebulous theme. I would recommend this book as invaluable asset to all those looking to ...more
Dee Waite
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I think out of all of my self-help books on writing, this has to be the most treasured. This book just works for me. I love the simple approach, explanations, examples, and advice. It all makes sense to me when I read this book - so, as you can guess, I read it often. I've only had it about three months, but it already looks like it's at least two years old and used regularly. You can't go wrong here.
Nascha
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
It took me awhile to actually sit down and read this book from beginning to end. Oh, I started it a few times, but I think I was overwhelmed by the wealth of advice it gives and at the time I was procrastinating on some of the stuff I'd been writing.

Nevertheless, I was very pleased with this book. I think it's an excellent guide to the nuts and bolts of writing fiction. It's definitely a book I'll be returning to again and again. I highly recommend it.
MB
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, I'll pull this out and reread all or part of it. It gets me into a writing mode, and it broadens my creative thinking. I really like the non-stuffy tone it's written in, and it's one of those books I can pick up, turn to a random page and find a little gem of information or an exercise that I need at the moment.
Jeff Van Valer
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: craft-of-writing
I've been writing for a long time. For almost all that time, I've wondered what was wrong with what I produced. In high school, we heard things like, "You have to know the rules of writing before you're allowed to break them." The advice was patently unhelpful. I knew about split infinitives, prepositions at the ends of sentences, run-ons and fragments. But still, anything and everything about style, structure, and meaning in my writing was wrong. It did more telling than showing. It incriminate ...more
Ben
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good summary of writing fiction with many strong examples. It covers all bases, but the section regarding publishing is perhaps a little outdated with so many online avenues these days. I didn't do any of the exercises, but they probably help the learning process.

Most of the examples are from a short story, The Cathedral, but there are other stories mixed in with appropriate context. Each example's relevance to the teachings is explained with concise language. There is a lot of data in the book,
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M.P.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great starting point for new writers — and an excellent book to revisit with more experience (I dip back into this one now and then). This is a complete toolbox for the fiction writer, and what’s nice about approach is that it remains very practical while still focusing on “literary fiction.” Some writing books lean too heavily on screenwriting tips and lessons from mainstream genre fiction (why do so many writing books contain examples from movies?!), while others feel like reading manuals on m ...more
Aya Zain
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Guys, this book is AMAZING. I've been looking for this title for years as well as my print copy due to all the super neat pointers and steps in this book... I was assigned this book as a reading for one of my college classes, and it has helped me shape and improve my writing style in college. It gives you ideas on what to write about, how to come up with new ideas, character development, and so much more. 10/10 recommend to anyone looking to write more.
Carlin
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Writing Fiction is a detailed writing guide covering all parts of the writing process from genesis to publication. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of writing fiction, with plenty of examples drawn from both short stories and novels. I think this is an excellent guide and one I'll continually refer back to while writing.
Claudia
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great writing resource book. I recommend it to beginning writers, those wanting to increase their skills, anyone willing to learn. I've edited plenty of stories where I wished the writer would have taken a little more time to learn their craft...it's a craft that requires a teachable mind! This book covers it all.
Bryn
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had to read (most of) this book for my writing fiction class this semester. Me, I do not want to be a writing. Sounds very hard with not a lot of returns, but if you need a book to walk you through some tips would recommend! It’s helped me a bit with my work.
Matt A
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not, nor have I ever been, much of a writer. But I estimate this to be an invaluable resource for that ilk. The true treasure here is the short story vignettes which are then analyzed in detail discussing what worked great, and what flopped.
Gonzalo
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great and comprehensive manual about writing fiction. As a professional playwright/screenwriter (and now aspiring novelist), it helped me understand the similarities and differences between both media, and how to navigate the world of narrative. Highly recommended.
Mia
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2 stars

This was pretty entertaining and had some interesting writerly insight, but otherwise just elaborated on very basic (often outdated) writing advice. I pretty much knew everything this book had to say beforehand. There are much better fiction writing guides out there.
Hufflepuff Book Reviewer
A good book of advice for people who want to craft powerful fiction, even if the advice given didn't feel particularly original.
Luke
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great tool for writers. Covers most everything you need to know to get you started and points you in the right direction(s) for more specific stuff.
Alex Khlopenko
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the more practical and useful writing guides that I've encountered. Yet, too reliant on the examples from the god-awful raymond carver.
Frank D Duringer
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
a book I read over and over again
Vee McClure
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Of all the writing books I’ve read, this is far and away the best one. The advice is sound, thorough, and comes with relevant exercises.
The book was engaging, and organized to build upon previous chapters. It will be my companion that I reference often when writing first drafts.
Maria del Mar
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-a-story
I really ejoyed this book, not only has it been one of the most useful reads about writing in my life but it was also very entertaining, with lots of examples and exercises. Highly recommended.
Eric
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really fantastic advise on writing and the business of writing, along with plenty of additional recommended sources to take a look at.

Not the kind of book you read through just once.
Chris Allen
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
A very good book on how to write. I will work my way through a couple of more times to learn what it has to offer.
Llamaark
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Very clear and easy to understand.
Zamy
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book for those who want to lay solid foundation to creative writing.
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Goodreads Librari...: Set as foreign-language editions 5 28 Oct 17, 2014 07:35AM  

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“I like blank paper. To meet people I find interesting. Writing puts me into a world that has not been written yet. I spend much of my time contemplating love and death. When I am writing a surge of complete happiness takes over. To make readers hear the sound of their own heartbeats, that sound that whispers up to us: you are alive. When I manage to turn pages and pages of crap into a little bit of art, I feel like that girl in the Diamonds Are Forever ad. Writing gives me permission to be a child and to play with words the way that children play with blocks or twigs or mud. Writing makes me a god, each new page enabling me to create and destroy as many worlds as I please. It allows me to spy on my neighbors. It’s the only socially acceptable way to be a compulsive liar. I want to cleanse the past. To discover, to express, to celebrate, to acknowledge, to witness, to remember who I am. I find out what might have been, what should have happened, and what I fear will happen. It’s a means of asking questions, though the answers may be as puzzling as a rune. This question drives me crazy. There is nothing else I want to do more. My soul will not be still until the words are written on paper. Because I can. Because I must. I can’t not. If I don’t I will explode. I want to be good at something and I’ve tried everything else.” 7 likes
“Attempted Theory #1: Hey, back to our initial question. Perhaps this is the big reason why we write fiction—as a way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. The fiction writer takes a fragment of reality and examines it from several angles until it starts to make some damn sense. By focusing life through the lens of fiction, truths are revealed and magnified and understood. Order is made from chaos. It’s like therapy but cheaper and more fun, and perhaps even more effective.” 1 likes
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