Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft / Edition 6by Janet Burroway, Susan Weinberg
Pub. Date: 07/10/2002
The most widely used and respected book on writing fiction, Writing Fiction guides the writer from first inspiration to final revision. Supported by an abundance exercises, this guide/anthology explores and integrates the elements of fiction while offering practical techniques and concrete examples. A focus on the writing process in its entirety provides a comprehensive guide to writing fiction, approaching distinct elements in separate chapters while building on what has been covered earlier. Topics include free-writing to revision, plot, style, characterization, dialogue, atmosphere, imagery, and point of view. An anthology of diverse and contemporary short stories followed by suggestions for discussion and writing exercises, illustrates concepts while offering variety in pacing and exposure to this increasingly popular form. The book also discusses key issues including writing workshops, using autobiography as a basis for fiction, using action in stories, using dialogue, and maintaining point of view. The sixth edition also features more short short stories than any previous edition and includes quotation boxes that offer advice and inspirational words from established writers on a wide range of topicssuch as writing from experience, story structure, openings and endings, and revision. For those interested in developing their creative writing skills.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Older Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.20(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.85(d)
Table of Contents
To Instructors: About This Book.
To Students: About The Workshop.
1. WHATEVER WORKS: The Writing Process.
The Critic: A Caution.
Choosing A Subject.
A Word About Theme.
American History, Judith Ortiz Cofer.
2. The Tower And The Net: Story Form, Plot, And Structure.
Conflict, Crisis, And Resolution.
Connection And Disconnection.
Story Form As A Check Mark.
Story And Plot.
The Short Story And The Novel.
Reading As Writers.
How Far She Went, Mary Hood.
Silver Water, Amy Bloom.
Happy Endings, Margaret Atwood.
Girl, Jamaica Kincaid.
No One's A Mystery, Elizabeth Tallent.
20/20, Linda Brewer.
3. SEEING IS BELIEVING: Showing And Telling.
The Active Voice.
The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien.
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Joyce Carol Oates.
4. BUILDING CHARACTER: Characterization, Part I.
The Indirect Methods Of CharacterPresentation.
Interpretation By Another Character.
Gryphon, Charles Baxter.
The Visible Man, Elizabeth Stuckey-French.
5. The Flesh Made Word: Characterization, Part II.
The Direct Methods Of Character Presentation.
Format And Style.
Text And Subtext.
Conflict Between Methods Of Presentation.
Creating A Group Or Crowd.
Character: A Summary.
Aren't You Happy For Me? Richard Bausch.
6. Long Ago And Far Away: Fictional Place And Time.
Setting And Atmosphere.
Harmony And Conflict Between Character And Background.
Setting And Character.
Setting And Emotion.
Symbolic And Suggestive Setting.
Alien And Familiar Setting.
An Exercise In Setting.
Some Aspects Of Narrative Time.
Summary And Scene.
Revising Summary And Scene.
Further Thoughts On Openings And Endings.
Dark Corner, Robert Morgan.
To Da-Duh, In Memoriam, Paule Marshall.
Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People, Lorrie Moore.
Bullet In The Brain, Tobias Wolff.
7. Call Me Ishmael: Point Of View, Part I.
In What Form?
The Comedian, John L'Heureux.
Lectures On How You Never Lived Back Home, Evelina Galang.
8. Assorted Liars: Point Of View, Part II.
At What Distance?
Spatial And Temporal Distance.
With What Limitations?
The Unreliable Narrator.
An Exercise In Unreliability.
Unreliability In Other Viewpoints.
Snow, Julia Alvarez.
Beautiful My Mane In The Wind, Catherine Petroski.
Jealous Husband Returns In Form Of Parrot, Robert Olen Butler.
Who's Irish? Gish Jen.
Screentime, Stephen Jones.
9. Is And Is Not: Comparison.
Types Of Metaphor And Simile.
Metaphoric Faults To Avoid.
Menagerie, Charles Johnson.
Eyes Of A Blue Dog, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
10. I Gotta Use Words When I Talk To You: Theme.
Idea And Morality In Theme.
How Fictional Elements Contribute To Theme.
Developing Theme As You Write.
Wave, John Holman.
This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona, Sherman Alexie.
11. Play It Again, Sam: Revision.
Worry It And Walk Away.
Further Suggestions For Revision.
Examples Of The Revision Process.
Appendix A: Kinds Of Fiction.
Appendix B: Suggestions For Further Reading.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
I have hundreds of books on writing, but Burroway's book is a core book for anyone who's serious about writing. It covers everything, is both practical in its instruction and inspirational when you see just how everything can come together to create a good story. I use this book over and over to remind myself of key features. I have a few favorites out of my big collection, and this is definitely one of them! It's expensive, but worth it. Get it, even used--the way I got it. You won't regret it.
This book covers it all--and well. Used in colleges around the country, it explains fictional techniques and how to write stories. I particularly like the exerpts and examples from noted authors used to illustrate each section.
This book helped me to greatly improve my fiction writing. A wonderful help for making your stories sound like the greats!
This is a comprehensive book on craft that starts with the basics and works deeper with solid examples that drive the point home. With detailed chapters on the process of writing, showing vs. telling, and creating three-dimensional characters and settings, this may be the penultimate book for beginning writers. Even intermediate writers will find reminders about all the things we're doing wrong that we knew were wrong, but forgot we were doing. Filled with vivid examples to illustrate every lesson, the book even has a few things for more seasoned writers. New writers often have the hardest time grasping the concept of showing vs. telling, and this section in Writing Fiction is one of the best yet I've read, teaching the difference between the two with well-written examples perfectly re-written to ensure the lesson is learned. The section on characterization is exceptionally thorough, delving into great detail on what makes good characters and what makes great characters. All stories need good characters, but the best stories have great characters. With about one-third examples and writing exercises and two-thirds instruction, I firmly believe this is the first book every aspiring fiction writer should pick up and study. Bottom Line Writing Fiction is expensive, but worth every penny. This is the textbook every aspiring novelist needs to read.