Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

by Sherry Ellis
Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

by Sherry Ellis


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A collection of personal writing exercises and commentary from some of today's best novelists, short story writers, and writing teachers, including Jill McCorkle, Amy Bloom, Robert Olen Butler, Steve Almond, Jayne Anne Phillips, Virgil Suarez, Margot Livesay, and more.

What's the secret behind the successful and prolific careers of critically acclaimed novelists and short story writers Amy Bloom, Steve Almond, Jayne Anne Phillips, Alison Lurie, and others? Divine assistance? Otherworldly talent? An unsettlingly close relationship with the Muse? While the rest of us are staring at blank sheets of paper, struggling to come up with a first sentence, these writers are busy polishing off story after story and novel after novel. Despite producing work that may seem effortless, all of them have a simple technique for fending off writer's block: the writing exercise. In Now Write!, Sherry Ellis collects the personal writing exercises of today's best writers and lays bare the secret to their success.

- In "The Photograph," Jill McCorkle divulges one of her tactics for handling material that takes plots in a million different directions;
- National Book Award-nominee Amy Bloom offers "Water Buddies," an exercise for writers practicing their craft in workshops;
- Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal and Candyfreak, provides a way to avoiding purple prose in "The Five-Second Shortcut to Writing in the Lyric Register";
- and eighty-three more of the country's top writers disclose their strategies for creating memorable prose.

Complemented by brief commentary from the authors themselves, the exercises in Now Write! are practical and hands-on. By encouraging writers to shamelessly steal proven techniques that have yielded books which have won National Book Awards, Pulitzers, and Guggenheim grants, Now Write! inspires the aspiring writer to write now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585425228
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/07/2006
Series: Now Write! Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,152,997
Product dimensions: 5.53(w) x 8.31(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range: 18 - 14 Years

About the Author

Sherry Ellis is the editor of NOW WRITE! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers and NOW WRITE! NONFICTION, as well as a personal writing coach. Her author interviews have appeared in the Kenyon Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, Glimmer Train, and AGNI, as well as other literary and arts magazines. She lives in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Now Write!Editor's Note
Get Writing!
Jayne Anne Phillips
Wedding Pictures
Robert Olen Butler
Through the Senses
Alison Lurie
My Pet
Alice Mattison
Two People Come Out of a Building and Into a Story
Alexander Chee
The Seed
Diana Abu-Jaber
Truthful Dare
Jill McCorkle
The Photograph
Rick Hillis
The Prefab Story Exercise
Maria Flook
The Upside-Down Bird: Hybridizing Memory, Place, and Invention
Paul Lisicky
A Map to Anywhere
Chuck Wachtel
Starting with the News
Debra Spark
Wedding Cake Assignment
Katherine A. Vaz
A Tabula Rasa Experiment
Karen Brennan
Dan Wakefield
The Five Senses
Crystal Wilkinson
Birth of a Story in an Hour or Less
Laurie Foos
Surrealism Exercise, or Thinking Outside the Box
Leslie Schwartz
Overcoming Dry Spells
Virgil Suárez
Field Trip
David Michael Kaplan
Smushing Seed Ideas Together
Kathleen Spivack
The Writing Exercise: A Recipe
Point of View
Nina de Gramont
Story to Tell
Maureen McCoy
First-Person Point of View: Imagining and Inhabiting Character
Clyde Edgerton
You-Me-I-You in the Cafeteria
Martha Cooley
Getting Characters' Ages Right
Paula Morris
What Are They Thinking? A Point-of-View ExerciseDaphne Kalotay
Third-Person Narration and "Psychic Distance"
Eileen Pollack
Look Backward, Angel
Laura Kasischke
Let the Dead Speak: An Exercise in First-Person Narration
Character Development
Kay Sloan
Empathy and the Creation of Character
Michelle Herman
What's Under the Surface?
Lauren Grodstein
The Interview
Elizabeth Graver
"Once Upon a Time": Playing with Time in Fiction
Robert Anthony Siegel
Why I Stole It
Chris Abani
Language Portrait
Rachel Basch
Paw Through Their Pockets, Rifle Through Their Drawers
Maxine Chernoff
Mr. Samsa, Meet Bartleby
Michelle Brooks
Rattlesnake in the Drawer
K. L. Cook
A Family Theme, a Family Secret
Michael Datcher
Characters in Conflict
Edie Meidav
The Voyager: Write What You Don't Know
Joan Silber
Getting Dramatic
Mary Yukari Waters
Developing Your Characters
Lise Haines
The Way They Do the Things They Do
Cai Emmons
Braiding time
Steven Schwartz
Snoop 'Da Dialogue
Sands Hall
Dialogue Without Words
Lon Otto
Hearing Voices
Thomas Fox Averill
Dialogue Exercise: The Non-Apology
Douglas Unger
Level of Dialogue
Plot and Pacing
Dan Chaon
Fictional Building Blocks
Renée Manfredi
Keep the Engine Running
Fred Leebron
The Riff
Brent Spencer
Storyboard Your Story
Sean Murphy and Tania Casselle
Sticking to the Structure
Kirby Gann
What Am I Writing About? Clarifying Story Ideas Through Summary
Douglas Bauer
The Richness of Resonance
Setting and Description
Margot Livesey
Setting in Fiction
Jim Heynen
The Character of Setting
Joan Leegant
Animating the Inanimate
Venise Berry
Learning to Layer
Patricia Powell
A Sense of Place
John Smolens
Be the Tree
Geoffrey Becker
A Very, Very Long Sentence
Karen E. Bender
Most Memorable Food: Using Sensory Detail
Bret Anthony Johnston
Like Water for Words: A Simile Exercise
Susan Vreeland
Finding a Larger Truth by Turning Autobiography into Fiction
Sheila Kohler
Secrets of the Great Scene
Tony Ardizzone
Hemingway's Caroms: Descriptive Showing and Telling
Robert Boswell
How to Own a Story
Elizabeth Searle
Object Lessons
Rosellen Brown
The Goldilocks Method
Sandra Scofield
Big Scenes
Nancy Reisman
Moving Through Time: A Four-Paragraph Short Short
Joy Passanante
Using the Retrospective Lens
Amy Bloom
Water Buddies
Victoria Redel
Listening to Sound to Find Sense
Lynne Barrett
Entrances: Building Bigger Scenes
Steve Almond
The Five-Second Shortcut to Writing in the Lyric Register
Christopher Busa
Meaning Making Via Metaphor
Christopher Castellani
Soundtracking Your Story
Robert Cohen
Negative Capability
Porter Shreve
Seven Drafts in Seven Days
Ann Harleman
More Is More: An Exercise in Revising Your Story
Brian Kiteey
Jonis Agee
The Dark Matter: Twenty Issues in Novel Revision
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