The Language of Fiction: A Writer's Stylebook

The Language of Fiction: A Writer's Stylebook

by Brian Shawver

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This is not your grandfather’s style guideSee more details below


This is not your grandfather’s style guide

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In the 18 chapters of his new style manual for writers, Shawver advocates for functional grammar: technical knowledge not simply for the sake of correctness but for greater artistic consciousness." —Kansas City Star

“Many writers erroneously believe that the mechanics of language are subordinate to fiction’s ideas, but Shawver argues precisely the opposite in this direct and clearly written guide to the craft of writing. . . . With a wealth of examples from fiction across genres and time periods, Shawver’s guide will be indispensable for those who are beginning to write or want to improve their prose. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“Shawver is an inviting, openhearted writer. His book is in no way a fustian treatise. Instead, it gently and logically sets forth the possibilities available to someone constructing prose and weighs in on how a wordsmith might sort through the options to arrive at a formulation that supports a desired meaning and tone. He doesn’t come out and say it, but his goal is to lead writers on a path to a distinctive style informed by good taste. He proves such an engaging companion on the page that any serious reader should delight in what he has to say—and any aspiring writer would be foolish not to listen.”—Santa Fe New Mexican

“Shawver is consistently clear, thorough, and humorous, the humor rooted in humble self-effacement and in poking fun at his subject’s driest patches. He comes across as friendly and passionate. As one of my students noted, he does the best anyone can possibly do with material that beginning writers might find dull. As another student said, ‘He sounds like a professor you’d want to take a class with.”—Green Mountains Review

Product Details

University Press of New England
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Salvatore Scibona
“The rare stylebook you really want to read, cover to cover, for curiosity and pleasure. Shawver makes the basic rules of usage plain—the better to break them, when the need arises, with vigor and poise.”
Eileen Pollack
“Carefully planned, much needed, and written in a warm and accessible style.”

Robert J. Begiebing
“One of the things I find most impressive is the sheer range of materials Shawver brings to bear on his topic—the best uses of the English language for fiction writers. Shawver is not only knowledgeable about the literature of writing fiction; he uses more and a broader range of primary sources for his examples of grammatical and usage principles than I have seen elsewhere. Appropriately, he is not working with little-known material, but often with well-known material that he applies with precision and originality.”
Rachel Louise Snyder
“I know of no other book on the market that covers the nitty gritty ‘math’ of creative writing. Shawver manages to put into words rules that many of us have only a vague sense, and he illustrates the importance of such rules even when one is writing ‘creatively.’ It’s not just any book that can gracefully offer us not only the existence of a word like ‘leornungcnihtas,’ but its relevance, roots and uses, too. Anyone who loves language will love this book.”

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