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Story Matters offers students an inspiring and insightful approach to writing short fiction with 21 short stories and in-depth, in-person conversations with their accomplished authors. Each writer describes his or her source of ideas, motivation, and writing strategies, to give a personal perspective on the book's narrative of the elements of short fiction. Throughout the book, writing prompts offer ideas, advice, and jumping-off points for workshop or individual writing exercises. The writers, from Dave Eggers to Jamaica Kincaid, explain and explore the intent, technique, and meaning of their fiction, offering expert insight into the craft of writing stories.
I. Writing Matters 1. Rules of the Game First, Read What Is A Story, Anyway? A Word About Talent 2. The Story in the Mind What If? Where Stories Come From How Stories Gather When to Start Writing Eighteen Writing Exercises 3. The Story on the Page Elements of Fiction And By the Way... Just Do It! Forty Writing Exercises 4. Revision Check for Clear Focus Check for Correct Sequencing Check Individual Sections Polishing Revision Checklist 5. Ok, It's Finished. Now What? Traditional Publishing Publishing on the Web Remember! II. Stories and Conversations Dorothy Allison, "River of Names" Russell Banks, "With Che in New Hampshire" Charles Baxter, "The Cures for Love" Dan Chaon, "Big Me" Stuart Dybek, "We Didn't" Dave Eggers, "After I Was Thrown into the River and Before I Drowned" Carolyn Ferrell, "Can You Say My Name?" Amy Hempel, "Going" Pam Houston, "How to Talk to a Hunter" Ha Jin, "Love in the Air" Jamaica Kincaid, "Poor Visitor" Jhumpa Lahiri, "A Temporary Matter" Michael Martone, "Watch Out" Jill McCorkle, "Hominids" Susan Neville, "Night Train" Grace Paley, "Debts" Joan Silber, "Bobby Jackson" Elizabeth Tallent, "Honey" Luis Alberto Urrea, "Father Returns from the Mountain" Daly Walker, "I Am the Grass" Tobias Wolff, "The Other Miller" Appendices A. Stories Loved by the Authors in this Book B. Fiction Writing, the Writing Life, and the Creative Process