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So You Want to Write: How To Master the Craft of Fiction & the Personal Narrative
     

So You Want to Write: How To Master the Craft of Fiction & the Personal Narrative

by Marge Piercy, Ira Wood
 

For over ten years, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been teaching two popular master classes in the art of writing fiction and memoirs. They attract students nationwide who have failed to improve their work in courses concentrating on process' rather than craft, and want to go beyond :journaling" and "writing as therapy" to break through and publish their work.<

Overview

For over ten years, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been teaching two popular master classes in the art of writing fiction and memoirs. They attract students nationwide who have failed to improve their work in courses concentrating on process' rather than craft, and want to go beyond :journaling" and "writing as therapy" to break through and publish their work.

Drawing on talks, exercises and examples proven in the classroom, So You Want to Write addresses:
How to begin a piece by seducing your reader,
How to create characters that embody the infinite contradictions of human behavior,
How to master the elements of plotting fiction,
How to create a strategy for telling the story of your life,
How to learn to read critically, like a professional writer,
How to realistically approach publishing.

Combining over seventy years of writing experience, other chapters include:
The overlooked powers of dialogue,
Creating descriptions that move readers emotionally,
FAQ's about agents, rejections, submitting work effectively, what writers really earn,
Overcoming shame and the difficulties of writing about loved ones.

Marge Piercy is the author of 35 books of fiction and poetry. She has lectured or performed at over 300 universities, and sold over 3,000,000 books worldwide. Ira Wood is the author of three novels, a publisher, and a popular writing teacher, whose classes address writers' feelings of hopelessness and despair. They live on Cape Cod.

Two: BEGINNINGS

Fiction is as old a habit of our species as poetry. It goes back to telling a tale, the first perceptions of pattern, andnarrative is still about pattern in human life. At core, it answers the question, what then? And then and then and then. And memoir is equally old: it's telling about your life, perhaps originally to children or a prospective mate or a new acquaintance.

Poetry is an art of time, as music is. Rhythms are measured against time: they are measures of time. A poem goes forward a beat at a time as a dance does, step by step, phrase by phrase. Narrative, whether fiction or memoir, is about time. First this, then that.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Here is a must-have for would-be writers ... [and] anyone who has a good story to tell but isn't quite sure how to tell it. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White.
Tampa Tribune
The authors conduct well-known writing seminars...They address plot, character development, dialogue and all the other elements of successful writing. They also go into work habits, overcoming the "inner censor" and dealing with publishers. A good primer for new writers; a fine reference book for any writer.
Publishers Weekly
"Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved," writes novelist and poet Marge Piercy in the poem that prefaces her and novelist Ira Wood's (The Kitchen Man) guide for careerist writers, So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and the Personal Narrative. "This book is a product of workshops we have given for many years," write the authors, and those not lucky enough to have participated in the workshops can now benefit from their no-nonsense wisdom. Eschewing the current trend in process-based writing classes and guides, Piercy and Wood urge writers to read critically and often; to ask themselves specific, exacting questions about their characters and plots; to complete the book's writing exercises; to do research in order to make a piece of writing believable; to participate in some kind of community of writers; and numerous other practical steps. Readers will appreciate the hardcore approach of these two dedicated writers. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Best-selling writer Piercy and her husband, novelist/publisher Wood, have been coteaching writers' workshops for about ten years. In an attempt to reach a larger audience, they have reproduced their master course in this useful manual. Advising against how-to books even their own the two authors encourage would-be writers to read as much as possible (included is a list of recommended books), as reading plays the key role in the process of learning how to write. The authors go on to discuss character, plot, dialog, and some of the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry. They also discuss how much writers can expect to earn, what those rejection letters from publishers really mean, and seven things to remember when the writing becomes intensely personal. The exercises at chapter ends are short and to the point, just enough to get the juices flowing. Because of the clear writing style and the authors' reputations, this book, although joining an already saturated market, is worth the shelf space. Recommended for public libraries. Lisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780967952024
Publisher:
Leapfrog Press MA
Publication date:
08/01/2001
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.01(w) x 8.97(h) x 0.58(d)

What People are Saying About This

Alison Lurie
SO YOU WANT TO WRITE is a lively, informative, and down-to-earth guide for anyone who's ever thought of writing and publishing a novel, story, or personal memoir. It answers all the questions you may have-as well as some you didn't think of.

Meet the Author

Marge Piercy is the author of 16 novels, including the bestsellers Gone to Soldiers and The Longings of Women and the classic Woman On the Edge of Time, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir, Sleeping With Cats. The author of 16 books of poetry, she is the most anthologized poet of her generation. Her work has been translated into 18 languages.

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