The Fiction Writer's Handbook

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Overview

"The Fiction Writer's Handbook" is the definitive volume to explain the words and phrases that writers and editors use when they they talk about a work. In a highly competitive publishing world, today's writers need to stay ahead of the competition and make every sentence count. "The Fiction Writer's Handbook" will help new writers who need an understanding of the writing process, and for seasoned writers, this book is a powerful tool.
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The Fiction Writer's Handbook

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Overview

"The Fiction Writer's Handbook" is the definitive volume to explain the words and phrases that writers and editors use when they they talk about a work. In a highly competitive publishing world, today's writers need to stay ahead of the competition and make every sentence count. "The Fiction Writer's Handbook" will help new writers who need an understanding of the writing process, and for seasoned writers, this book is a powerful tool.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Small Press Reviews - Marc Schuster
"The effect of THE FICTION WRITER'S HANDBOOK is similar to falling down a rabbit hole... To put it plainly, it's a tool that anyone who loves to learn more about the craft of writing won't be able to put down, an indispensable addition to any writer's library."
Goodreads - Julie Reyes
"Although I have gone through this once already, this is going to be a book for me to keep going back to as I dive into writing. It has great information for a new writer."
Library Journal - Henrietta Thornton-Verma
"Knowing how editors choose one work over so many others would give any writer an advantage. To that end, Lowenkopf, a longtime writer, editor, and educator, delivers the fiction-writing guide he has always longed for—one that can be applied to the practical goal of every aspiring writer: getting published. Arranged alphabetically, entries define and describe elements of editor-speak used by those in the know when judging a manuscript. VERDICT An invaluable insider’s take."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983632948
  • Publisher: White Whisker Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 805,575
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Shelly Lowenkopf taught in the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing Program for 34 years, has taught at the annual Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference since 1980, and has been guest lecturer in many schools and conferences. He is currently Visiting Professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, with classes in noir fiction, the modern short story, genre fiction, and developing a literary voice. Lowenkopf has served as editorial director for literary, general trade, mass market, and scholarly book publishers, seeing over 500 books through the editorial and production process. His own short fiction has appeared widely in the literary press.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Fiction Writer's Handbook is probably not what you would exp

    The Fiction Writer's Handbook is probably not what you would expect from the title. It is not arranged into chapters with titles like "How to Begin" or "How to Get Published." In fact it's not arranged into chapters at all, but rather an alphabetical "list of entries" with terms like "antagonist," "flash fiction" and "verb tenses." Some entries, like "first-draft strategy" (where the author suggests you start) and "revision" (where the author suggests you go next) are longer articles filled with ideas to improve your writing, while others are merely brief definitions of literary terms. Every entry contains words in SMALL CAPS indicating terms that can be found elsewhere in the book (in the e-book edition these are hyperlinks that allow the reader to go directly to the entry locations).

    If this format seems like it would be difficult to read cover-to-cover, that's because it is. It's not meant to be read cover-to-cover, nor is it meant to be read in one sitting. The idea is to skip around, read the entries that interest you, and use them to improve your writing or at least your editing. I almost think of it as a book of editing prompts.

    Shelly Lowenkopf also includes a bibliography of suggested reading that includes not only other non-fiction titles about the writing process, but many fiction titles as well, because as he sees it, every serious writer must also be a serious reader. Amen to that.

    Personally, I do a lot more reading than I do writing these days (you can tell by the awkwardness of this very sentence) so I found the book interesting for other reasons. I enjoyed reading about the techniques fiction writers employ and the common mistakes they make. It was nice to find the words to describe things I notice in books all the time, like the "information dump": (when the writer can't help throwing in ALL the things they learned in their research, whether the story needs it or not), "talking heads" (having characters engage in long passages of dialogue with little reaction, gestures, inflection or subtext) and "purple prose" (when the author's obvious "love of words" completely overtakes the story with excessive metaphor, romantic language and flowery description).

    In other words, if I become a more astute critic of writers' foibles in my upcoming reviews, y'all have Shelly Lowenkopf to blame! In fact, forget about writers and readers; this book should be required reading for reviewers.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing a review, though the review did not necessarily need to be favourable, just honest. I frequently read and review books for this reason, but I am always very truthful (and, I hope, fair) in my reviews. Therefore any opinions expressed are strictly my own.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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