BN.com Gift Guide

The Story behind the Story: 26 Stories by Contemporary Writers and how They Work

Overview

In a splendid display of show-and-tell, 26 writers tell a story and lift the curtain to reveal how they did it.
This big, beautiful anthology of short fiction is for readers, writers, and anyone curious about the mysterious processes of literary minds. All contributors have been recent faculty members of the prestigious Warren Wilson Low Residency Program, including such literary favorites as Margot Livesey, Charles Baxter, Robert Boswell, Jim ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (37) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $7.00   
  • Used (28) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

In a splendid display of show-and-tell, 26 writers tell a story and lift the curtain to reveal how they did it.
This big, beautiful anthology of short fiction is for readers, writers, and anyone curious about the mysterious processes of literary minds. All contributors have been recent faculty members of the prestigious Warren Wilson Low Residency Program, including such literary favorites as Margot Livesey, Charles Baxter, Robert Boswell, Jim Shepard, Antonya Nelson, David Shields, and the editors themselves.
Each writer was asked to submit an original story, accompanied by an essay describing the challenges of the story and how they were met. Since writers resist herding, the editors were happily surprised by the wide range of essays—"fiction writers, when given the space, think about their work very differently." We learn about the genesis of a story, how story evolves, what was eventually relinquished and why, and how a story—surprisingly—might "insist" on changing.
Arranged alphabetically by author, and beginning with Richard Russo's cogent introduction, this volume is a treasure throughout.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though students of literature or writing are often told to stick to the text-to avoid guessing at authorial intention and process-the dictum doesn't squelch their curiosity. Fledgling writers, especially, wonder how the pros get the job done, where they find their inspiration and how they can tap into those creative wells. This rich anthology, which offers shrewd insight into writers' approaches-thereby sating our desires for their secrets while validating our own eccentric quirks-reassures all lovers of good writing that there is no one correct way to craft a good tale. The contributors, all recent faculty members at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers in Swannanoa, N.C., offer model short stories followed by informal mini-essays on how they came to fruition. Antonya Nelson credits the seedling of "Strike Anywhere" to a student; Jim Shepard owes much of the title story from his new collection, Love and Hydrogen, to a flurry of research; while Tracey Daugherty cagily tips his hat to both imagination and autobiography, admitting only of his story, "City Codes," "it's all true except for the parts I made up." Writers' experiences couldn't be more different, with Robert Cohen "cackling" his way through the feverish high-speed ride of composing "The Varieties of Romantic Experience," while Ehud Havazelet took years to pen "Pillar of Fire." By sharing their stories as well as their struggles, their risk-taking and rule-breaking (Charles Baxter claims to have "violated most of the narrative norms" he tries to instill in his own students), these authors remind us that writing is a messy, fascinating and highly individualized process. This collection is a treasure trove of literary encouragement and wisdom. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393325324
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/19/2003
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrea Barrett is the author of The Air We Breathe, Servants of the Map (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), The Voyage of the Narwhal, Ship Fever (winner of the National Book Award), and other books. She teaches at Williams College and lives in northwestern Massachusetts.

Peter Turchi, director of the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program, lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Strike Anywhere 19
The Flowers of the Forest 34
A Brief Survey of Ideal Desire 53
The Old Fascist in Retirement 63
The Varieties of Romantic Experience 83
City Codes 100
Sacha's Dog 125
Ice-T 137
My Shape 146
I'm Not Through 166
Mrs. Dimbleby 181
Pillar of Fire 197
Part of the Story 225
Morton and Lilly, Dredge and Fill 249
That's Right, You're Not From Texas 265
Out Here 280
Mortality 301
Night Train 308
Stranger 324
The People Who Own Pianos 345
Maria Elena 353
The Annunciation 367
The Moon Over Wapakoneta 396
Love and Hydrogen 407
Night, Truck, Two Lights Burning 427
A Walk in Winter 442
Contributors' Biographies 471
Permissions 477
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)