Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends

Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends

by Nancy Kress

Paperback(Second Edition)

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Get Your Readers' Attention—And Keep It—From the First World to the Final Page

Translating that initial flash of inspiration into a complete story requires careful crafting. So how do you keep your story from beginning slowly, floundering midway, and trailing off at the end? Nancy Kress shows you effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story—essential lessons for strong start-to-finish storytelling.

  • Hook readers, agents, and editors in the first three paragraphs.
  • Make and keep your story's implicit promise to the reader.
  • Build drama and credibility by controlling your prose.
  • Consider the price a writer pays for flashbacks.
  • Reveal character effectively throughout your story.
Get the tools you need to get your story off to an engaging start, keep the middle tight and compelling, and make your conclusion high impact. You'll also find dozens of exercises to help strengthen your short story or novel. Let this resource be your guide to successful stories—from the first word to the last.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599632193
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/21/2011
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 257,803
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Although she began by writing fantasy, Nancy Kress currently writes science fiction, most usually about genetic engineering. She teaches regularly at summer conferences such as Clarion, and during the year at the Bethesda Writing Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition, she is the "Fiction" columnist for Writer's Digest magazine. She has won two Nebulas and a Hugo, and lost over a dozen more of these awards. Her work has been translated into Swedish, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, among others.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Story in Your Head 1

Part I Beginnings 5

Chapter 1 The Very Beginning: Your Opening Scene 6

Chapter 2 The Later Beginning: Your Second Scene 34

Chapter 3 Help for Beginnings: Early Revision 55

Part II Middles 60

Chapter 4 The Middle: Staying on Track 64

Chapter 5 Under Development: Your Characters at Midstory 86

Chapter 6 Help for Middles: Getting Unstuck 99

Part III Endings 112

Chapter 7 Satisfying Endings: Delivering on the Promise 113

Chapter 8 The Very End: Last Scene, Last Paragraph, Last Sentence 131

Chapter 9 Help for Endings: The Last Hurrah 132

Exclusive Q&A With Nancy Kress 158

Index 162

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