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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction

Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction

by John Dufresne


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Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction

"This is the most practical, hard-nosed, generous, direct, and useful guide to writing fiction." —Brad WatsonFinally, a truly creative—and hilarious—guide to creative writing, full of encouragement and sound advice. Provocative and reassuring, nurturing and wise, The Lie That Tells a Truth is essential to writers in general, fiction writers in particular, beginning writers, serious writers, and anyone facing a blank page.John Dufresne, teacher and the acclaimed author of Love Warps the Mind a Little and Deep in the Shade of Paradise, demystifies the writing process. Drawing upon the wisdom of literature's great craftsmen, Dufresne's lucid essays and diverse exercises initiate the reader into the tools, processes, and techniques of writing: inventing compelling characters, developing a voice, creating a sense of place, editing your own words. Where do great ideas come from? How do we recognize them? How can language capture them? In his signature comic voice, Dufresne answers these questions and more in chapters such as "Writing Around the Block," "Plottery," and "The Art of Abbreviation." Dufresne demystifies the writing process, showing that while the idea of writing may be overwhelming, the act of writing is simplicity itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393325812
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/19/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 264,029
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John Dufresne is the author of ten previous books, including two fiction writing guides. A professor in the MFA program at Florida International University, he lives in Dania Beach.

Table of Contents

The Process
Getting in Shape3
As a Matter of Fact11
Writing Around the Block21
Becoming a Writer31
Pick Yourself Up47
Sitting Alone in a Quiet Room57
Getting Black on White69
Doing it Again (And Again [And Again])81
The Meaning of Life is to See95
The Product
Getting Her Up the Tree, Getting Her Down: Beginnings and Endings119
The Queen Died of Grief: Plot133
Plottery: Plot159
The Heart of Fiction: Character169
The Method: Character183
"Let's Talk," He Said: Dialogue197
May I Ask Who's Calling, Please? Point of View221
You Can't Do Anything If You're Nowhere: Place243
The Art of Abbreviation: The Very Short Story257
Other Matters
Reading to Write267
The Writer Reads273
Small Craft Warnings289
Go Forth and Write297

What People are Saying About This

Ron Carlson

Frank and friendly talk about the approach to and the craft of fiction....a welcome companion.

Lewis Nordan

This is the writing guide I've been waiting for.

Janet Burroway

An engaging covers-all-the bases guide—sometimes moving, often funny, full of goodwill and good sense.

Alan Cheuse

I used to think that the only books of this kind worth reading were John Gardner's and Janet Burroway's. I've made room on my shelf for Dufresne's.

George Garrett

Dufresne makes it all good fun, from first to last, from guggle to zatch. See for yourself.

Connie May Flower

With uncommon candor, grace, insight, and clarity, Dufresne unmasks the Writer's Muse, allowing...a vivid and rich exploration of the creative process.

Steve Yarbrough

Dufresne's literary intelligence shines through every line....I'll be directing people to this book for years to come. It's wonderful.

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Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
wordygirl39 on LibraryThing 6 days ago
This is my favorite text on writing, hands down. Dufresne gives reasons for the building blocks of fiction and he makes the process so fun to read. He's also very good at guilting one into writing more.
rosencrantz79 on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Toward the end of the year, most of my reading time was devoted to class reading, including this semester's craft text, The Lie That Tells a Truth. As fiction writing guides go, I'd say that this was neither the best nor the worst I've ever read. The exercises included at the end of most chapters are inventive; I managed to get some good writing out of quite a few of them. Dufresne tackles some topics I've never seen addressed books in similar books, such as the use of "eye" dialect and the importance of reference books. But his examples of technique mostly come from his own writing, and while I like confidence, often Dufresne's tone makes his "advice" seem like a stern lecture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago