Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process

Overview


Novel Ideas provides a substantial introduction to the elements of fiction followed by in-depth interviews with successful novelists who speak with candor and insight into the complex process by which a novel is made. This edition includes new and updated interviews as well as writing exercises to enhance its use in the writing classroom.

Dorothy Allison recalls "deliciously self-indulgent" days of writing in her bathrobe, wrapped in misery and exultation; Peter Cameron ...

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Overview


Novel Ideas provides a substantial introduction to the elements of fiction followed by in-depth interviews with successful novelists who speak with candor and insight into the complex process by which a novel is made. This edition includes new and updated interviews as well as writing exercises to enhance its use in the writing classroom.

Dorothy Allison recalls "deliciously self-indulgent" days of writing in her bathrobe, wrapped in misery and exultation; Peter Cameron explains how he made the move from short fiction to the novel with the aid of a music composer's notebook to track the movement of his characters. Writers as different as Ha Jin, Jill McCorkle, Richard Ford, and Michael Chabon describe their unique approaches to their work while consistently affirming the necessity of committing to the hard effort of it while also remaining open to surprise.

Aspiring novelists will find hands-on strategies for beginning, working through, and revising a novel; accomplished novelists will discover new ways to solve the problems they face in process; and serious readers of contemporary fiction will enjoy a glimpse into the way novels are made.

Includes interviews with:

  • Dorothy Allison
  • Larry Brown
  • Peter Cameron
  • Michael Chabon
  • Michael Cunningham
  • Robb Forman Dew
  • Richard Ford
  • Ha Jin
  • Patricia Henley
  • Charles Johnson
  • Wally Lamb
  • Valerie Martin
  • Jill McCorkle
  • Sena Jeter Naslund
  • Lewis Nordan
  • Sheri Reynolds
  • S. J. Rozan
  • Jane Smiley
  • Lee Smith
  • Theodore Weesner
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Novel Ideas is the real thing: the editors offer an excellent crash course on how to write a novel, and the contemporary novelists they interview offer advice, insight, consolation, inspiration, and (above all) stories about stories. I can't imagine a writer who wouldn't find this book useful, or a reader who wouldn't find it stimulating and provocative."--Robert Hellenga, author of The Italian Lover

"Many texts exist on writing the short story, but there are few useful ones about its less predictable cousin, the novel. This valuable book includes general fiction principles but then expands to the particular testimony of contemporary authors discussing how they wrote their well-known novels. The result for readers, writers, and writing teachers is not a cookbook but a bountiful literary feast."--Doris Betts, author of Heading West

"I’ve always loved this book and find it to be very useful when writing and revising my own novels. I’ve read nearly every novel-writing book out there, and this is the best by far."--Elizabeth Stuckey-French, coauthor of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

"Novel Ideas is one of the most useful writing texts I've encountered in twelve years of teaching. The interviews have an appealing personality and intimacy but also serve as gateways to discussing more universal concerns of process and craft. I'm thrilled about the prospect of reintroducing this text to my students."--Elise Juska, author of One For Sorrow, Two For Joy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820332796
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2009
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 929,202
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Barbara Shoup is the author of six novels, including Everything You Want. She is associate faculty at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis and program director for the Writers' Center of Indiana. Margaret-Love Denman is the author of two novels, including Daily, Before Your Eyes. She is the coordinator of off-campus writing programs at the University of Mississippi. Denman was the director of the creative writing program at the University of New Hampshire for twelve years.
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Table of Contents


Preface to the Second Edition vii

Writing a Novel

Introduction 3
The Book in the Mind 7
The Elements of Fiction 15
Seeing It Through 48
Revision 56

The Interviews
Dorothy Allison 73
Larry Brown 89
Peter Cameron 103
Michael Chabon 115
Michael Cunningham 127
Robb Forman Dew 143
Richard Ford 161
Ha Jin 175
Patricia Henley 183
Charles Johnson 192
Wally Lamb 201
Valerie Martin 218
Jill McCorkle 231
Sena Jeter Naslund 244
Lewis Nordan 257
Sheri Reynolds 265
S. J. Rozan 276
Jane Smiley 290
Lee Smith 298
Theodore Weesner 306
Writing Exercises 317

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    good reference

    This is a good book to review the basics of writing--plot, point of view, etc. These topics are dealt with in a consise yet interesting way. The second part consists of interviews with published authors. I am embarrassed to say I recognized only one or two names, Wally Lamb comes to mind. For some reason the authors I read never show up in these kind of books. Good reference book for writers trying to pull all the pieces together and those who need a little pep talk.

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