You Must Be This Tall to Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside The Story

Overview

Compelling stories have the power to generate infinite wonder: It's nearly impossible to imagine how the author began, and yet we sense there's much more beyond the final word. It's this mystery&#150a combination of inspiration and craft, smoke and mirrors&#150that makes writing feel momentous. But it can also feel overwhelming, causing us to become small, scared, not quite ready for the "big" rides, such as finishing that story, that novel, and finding the courage to ...

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You Must Be This Tall to Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside The Story

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Overview

Compelling stories have the power to generate infinite wonder: It's nearly impossible to imagine how the author began, and yet we sense there's much more beyond the final word. It's this mystery&#150a combination of inspiration and craft, smoke and mirrors&#150that makes writing feel momentous. But it can also feel overwhelming, causing us to become small, scared, not quite ready for the "big" rides, such as finishing that story, that novel, and finding the courage to share it with the world.

In You Must Be This Tall to Ride, you'll find 20 works of fiction and nonfiction by acclaimed contemporary authors, each offering fresh perspective on ''coming of age'' (a story to which we can all relate), as well as exclusive personal essays and practical exercises.

In their own words, these writers grant you a guided tour of craft with unparalleled access to the process behind their creation, including how to:

  • grow a story from the seed of an image or sentence
  • allow experiments with language to lead you to plot
  • turn even the most unlikely characters into heroes
  • transform raw anecdotes from your own life into compelling fiction and essay

Join 20 writers as we grow up and down, taking a rollercoaster ride in stories. You'll not only begin to understand what makes the wheels of a story turn, you'll also gain the tools and strategies to transform lost characters and runaway plots into the greatest show on earth. So go ahead, step right up. Listen for the calliope music, and take your place in line.

Your ride has just begun.

CONTRIBUTORS:

  • Steve Almond
  • Aimee Bender
  • Kate Bernheimer
  • Ryan Boudinot
  • Judy Budnitz
  • Dan Chaon
  • Brock Clarke
  • Michael Czyzniejewski
  • Stuart Dybek
  • Michael Martone
  • Antonya Nelson
  • Peter Orner
  • Jack Pendarvis
  • Benjamin Percy
  • Andrew Porter
  • Chad Simpson
  • George Singleton
  • Brady Udall
  • Laura van den Berg
  • Ryan Van Meter
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582975740
  • Publisher: F+W Media
  • Publication date: 5/27/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,456,401
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

B.J. Hollars of Fort Wayne, Indiana is working on his MFA in writing at the University of Alabama where he has served as nonfiction editor and assistant fiction editor for Black Warrior Review. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adirondack Review, Puerto del Sol, The Evansville Review, Memorious, and other literary journals.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Conjuring All the Old Ghosts 1

Tell Me Where It Hurts Steve Almond 6

Inside "Tell Me Where It Hurts": Writing What Matters 16

Writing Exercise 20

Tiger Mending Aimee Bender 21

Inside "Tiger Mending": One Question Leads to Another 29

Writing Exercise 31

A Tulip's Tale Kate Bernheimer 33

Inside "A Tulip's Tale": Lead With Your Obsessions 38

Writing Exercise 40

The Littlest Hitler Ryan Boudinot 42

Inside "The Littlest Hitler": From Preparation to Evaluation 50

Writing Exercise 53

Immersion Judy Budnitz 54

Inside "Immersion": Word Games 67

Writing Exercise 71

Prodigal Dan Chaon 73

Inside "Prodigal": The Fictional Essay 84

Writing Exercise 88

The Apology Brock Clarke 90

Inside "The Apology": Starting With an Image 101

Writing Exercise 103

Janice the Mantis Michael Czyzniejewski 104

Inside "Janice the Mantis": Creating Conflict From Character 116

Writing Exercise 118

Field Trips Stuart Dybek 120

Inside "Field Trips": 'Like This Really Happened' 125

Writing Exercise 128

The Spirit of St. Louis Michael Martone 129

Inside "The Spirit of St. Louis": Beginning With an End 133

Writing Exercise 136

Here on Earth Antonya Nelson 138

Inside "Here on Earth": Dividing the Self 145

Writing Exercise 148

Pampkin's Lament Peter Orner 149

Inside "Pampkin's Lament": The Loser Hero 155

Writing Exercise 157

Sex Devil Jack Pendarvis 158

Inside "Sex Devil": Using the Dark 161

Writing Exercise 164

Refresh, Refresh Benjamin Percy 165

Inside "Refresh, Refresh": Showing Creative Restraint 180

Writing Exercise 182

Departure Andrew Porter 184

Inside"Departure": Mining a Setting for Emotion 197

Writing Exercise 201

Especially Roosevelt Chad Simpson 202

Inside "Especially Roosevelt": Uncovering Meaning in an Anecdote 213

Writing Exercise 218

Voted Most Likely George Singleton 220

Inside "Voted Most Likely": Our Never-Dry Well 233

Writing Exercise 236

Otis Is Resurrected Brady Udall 237

Inside "Otis Is Resurrected": The Core of Longing 248

Writing Exercise 252

To the Good People of Mars Laura Van Den Berg 254

Inside "To the Good People of Mars": Experimenting With Language 258

Writing Exercise 261

Youth Group Ryan Van Meter 263

Inside "Youth Group": Surrendering to Memory 276

Writing Exercise 280

Notes: About the Contributors 282

Index 287

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