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

Overview


Ten Lessons for the Fiction Writer

&break;&break;Writing successful fiction is a balance between trusting one's own instincts and making the right conscious choices. In By Cunning & Craft, award-winning novelist and short-story writer Peter Selgin shows you how to combine the instinctive process of creation with sound technical ingenuity.

&break;&break;With precise instruction and examples from classic and best-selling works, this authoritative guide helps ...

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Overview


Ten Lessons for the Fiction Writer

&break;&break;Writing successful fiction is a balance between trusting one's own instincts and making the right conscious choices. In By Cunning & Craft, award-winning novelist and short-story writer Peter Selgin shows you how to combine the instinctive process of creation with sound technical ingenuity.

&break;&break;With precise instruction and examples from classic and best-selling works, this authoritative guide helps you master the ten essential fiction-writing elements: inspiration; character; point of view; structure and plot; theme; dialogue; description; scenes, summary, and flashback; voice and style; and revision.

&break;&break;Whether you're facing the blank pages of a first draft or trying to revise a completed manuscript, By Cunning & Craft provides you with the guidance you need to outfox common writing pitfalls and make sure your work isn't wanting in wit - or perfection.

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What People Are Saying

Benjamin Cheever
There is craft and there is cunning. There is the struggle to get published at all. But there is also the chance that you will do something extraordinary. Peter Selgin illustrates the tricks, both basic and sophisticated. But greatness is what he's really interested in. He thrusts the readers into the company of those who wrote magnificently. Salinger is quoted, Hemingway, Thomas Mann, E.M. Forster, John Gardner. "This book is for serious writers of all levels," he writes in the beginning, and he's talking about intentions. If you mean to shoot for the stars, then this book is for you.
Vivian Gornick
Peter Selgin has written an excellent guide-witty, lucid, well-written-for beginning writers of fiction. In fact, any writer can learn from it.
Robert Polito
Cunning and craft, indeed: Within these pages Peter Selgin quotes Chekov to the effect that, "The writer's task is not to solve the problem but to state the problem correctly." What I admire most about By Cunning & Craft is its rare and inspired modesty-an ultimately stylish resistance to pledging more than Selgin (really anyone) can deliver. May many learn from this book.
Walter Cummins
Writing fiction is a matter of choices, decisions that shape the imagination. No one clarifies those choices more effectively than Peter Selgin in By Cunning & Craft. He demystifies the alternatives through straightforward explanations and illustrations. By showing the options, by suggesting which are most effective for specific situations, and by demonstrating through examples, Selgin gives writers the resources to structure their creativity.
Alexander Steele
Along with the great advice, Selgin is pure pleasure to read.
Nora Gallagher
By Cunning & Craft is a masterpiece of writing about writing. If, like Scheherazade, you had to spin out a story under threat of death, this is the how-to book to read. It's filled with thoughtful, nuanced advice from a teacher/writer who actually writes-and writes beautifully and with great humor. The list of rejected stories in the "Theme" section is worth the price of the whole book.
Sheila Kohler
A wonderfully helpful, thorough, and honest book on writing, By Cunning & Craft is filled with good sense, good advice, and many excellent examples of good writing. A book to read and read again with profit by the beginning, the middle, and the writer of many years.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582974910
  • Publisher: F+W Media
  • Publication date: 2/14/2007
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Peter Selgin is a literature and composition professor at Montclair State University and an MFA instructor at Western Connecticut State University. He served as a Gotham Writers' Workshop instructor from 2002?2005. He currently serves on editorial boards of Bellevue Literary Review, Global City Press, and Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature. Peter has a novel and a short story collection under consideration with Persea Books. He is also the author of the revision chapter in 2003 compilation Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School.
www.peterselgin.com
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • 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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