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By Cunning and Craft: Sound Advice and Practical Wisdom for Fiction Writers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    A Pleasure to Read and Study

    Peter Selgin¿s BY CUNNING & CRAFT offers plenty for those interested in understanding fiction and how it is developed. The book is a pleasure to read, and it¿s beautifully bound. The cover and each chapter include a black-and-white illustration reminiscent of the old fairy tales. By Cunning & Craft is organized with ten lessons, or chapters: · People · Point of View · Structure and Plot · Dialogue · Description · Scene, Summary, and Flashback · Voice and Style · Theme · Revision · Inspiration, Perspiration, Publication The strongest chapters are those that deal with theme, voice, and style. But the chapters addressing plot and scene are disappointing. Fiction-writing modes were not adequately addressed. Maybe future editions of By Cunning & Craft will fill in some of the gaps. Many of the examples offered throughout the text are of literary fiction and may fall flat for writers interested in other genres. Although there are no exercises presented and no summaries at the end of the chapters, an index is provided for easy reference. Selgin also includes a bibliography of books on craft. Ideally, a newly issued concept-to-publication text about how to write fiction should: 1. Adequately cover the basics of writing a novel 2. Discredit some of the misinformation about novel-writing that has been published in the past 3. Provide ground-breaking insight and guidance not already presented in the numerous how-to books that precede it Although By Cunning & Craft offers valuable information on many of the subjects addressed, it falls short of achieving each of these benchmarks. One of the keys to learning from how-to books is not to dwell too much on what is missing or misleading, but to focus on extracting whatever valuable information is there. Most how-to books offer nuggets of wisdom and technique that are well worth the effort of digging them out, and this book provides plenty. No doubt, readers and writer¿s of fiction will be studying and quoting from By Cunning & Craft for many years.

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    Posted June 23, 2010

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    Posted July 9, 2011

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