The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth

James N. Frey - 1994
    Frey, are the basis of all storytelling, and their structures and motifs are as powerful for contemporary writers as they were for Homer.In The Key, novelist and fiction-writing coach Frey applies his popular "Damn Good" approach to Joseph Campbell's insights into the universal structure of myths, providing a practical guide for fiction writers and screenwriters who want to shape their ideas into a powerful mythic story.

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books

J. Peder Zane - 2007
    As writers such as Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Margaret Drabble, Michael Chabon and Peter Carey name the ten books that have meant the most to them, you'll be reminded of books you have always loved and introduced to works awaiting your discovery.The Top Ten includes summaries of 544 books—each of which is considered to be among the ten greatest books ever written by at least one leading writer. In addition to each writer's Top Ten List, the book features Top Ten Lists tabulated from their picks, including:• The Top Ten Books of All Time• The Top Ten Books by Living Writers• The Top Ten Books of the Twentieth Century• The Top Ten Mysteries• The Top Ten ComediesAlready sparking debate, The Top Ten will help readers answer the most pressing question of all: What should I read next?

The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again

Sven Birkerts - 2007
    Each book will be a brief, witty, and useful exploration of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a writer impassioned by a singular craft issue. The Art Of volumes will provide a series of sustained examinations of key but sometimes neglected aspects of creative writing by some of contemporary literature's finest practioners.In The Art of Time in Memoir, critic and memoirist Sven Birkerts examines the human impulse to write about the self. By examining memoirs such as Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory; Virginia Woolf's unfinished A Sketch of the Past; and Mary Karr's The Liars' Club, Birkerts describes the memoirist's essential art of assembling patterns of meaning, stirring to life our own sense of past and present.

Quack This Way

David Foster Wallace - 2013
    Their subjects: language and writing. The interviewee drove more than an hour, from Claremont to downtown Los Angeles. The interviewer flew from Dallas. They spoke on film for 67 minutes and then walked uphill to a nearby seafood restaurant, where they continued the running conversation they had started five years earlier. They liked each other, and they seemed to understand each other. The rest is history. This is the last long interview with David Foster Wallace.

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide

Stephen J. Burn - 2003
    The aim of the series is to give readers accessible and informative introductions to some of the most popular, most acclaimed and most influential novels of recent years - from ‘The Remains of the Day' to ‘White Teeth'. A team of contemporary fiction scholars from both sides of the Atlantic has been assembled to provide a thorough and readable analysis of each of the novels in question.

Becoming a Writer

Dorothea Brande - 1934
    Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. It's just a question of finding the "writer's magic"--a degree of which is in us all. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. So she is enraged by the pessimistic authors of so many writing books who rejoice in trying to put off the aspiring writer by constantly stressing how difficult it all is.With close reference to the great writers of her day--Wolfe, Forster, Wharton and so on--Brande gives practical but inspirational advice about finding the right time of day to write and being very self disciplined about it--"You have decided to write at four o'clock, and at four o'clock you must write." She's strong on confidence building and there's a lot about cheating your unconscious which will constantly try to stop you writing by coming up with excuses. Then there are exercises to help you get into the right frame of mind and to build up writing stamina. She also shows how to harness the unconscious, how to fall into the "artistic coma," then how to re-emerge and be your own critic.This is Dorothea Brande's legacy to all those who have ever wanted to express their ideas in written form. A sound, practical, inspirational and charming approach to writing, it fulfills on finding "the writer's magic."

Writing Fight Scenes

Rayne Hall - 2011
    You'll decide how much violence your scene needs, what's the best location, how your heroine can get out of trouble with self-defence and how to adapt your writing style to the fast pace of the action.There are sections on female fighters, male fighters, animals and weres, psychological obstacles, battles, duels, brawls, riots and final showdowns. For the requirements of your genre, there is even advice on how to build erotic tension in a fight scene, how magicians fight, how pirates capture ships and much more. You will learn about different types of weapons, how to use them in fiction, and how to avoid embarrassing blunders. The book uses British spellings.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson - 2014
    You’ve heard of “organic writing,” but that seems a bit squishy to you. Take a look at the wildly popular Snowflake Method—a battle-tested series of ten steps that jump-start your creativity and help you quickly map out your story. All around the world, novelists are using the Snowflake Method right now to ignite their imaginations and get their first drafts down on paper. In this book, you’ll follow the story of a fictitious novelist as she learns to tap into the amazing power of the Snowflake Method. Almost magically, she finds her story growing from a simple idea into a deep and powerful novel. And she finds her novel changing her—turning her into a stronger, more courageous person.Zany, Over the Top, and Just Plain FunHow to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method is a “business parable”—a how-to guide written in story form. It’s zany. It’s over the top. It’s just plain fun. Most important, it’s effective, because it shows you, rather than telling you.You’ll learn by example how to grow your story idea into a sizzling first draft. You’ll discover:* How to define your “target audience” the right way, so you know exactly how your ideal readers think and feel. Forget what the experts tell you about “demographics.”* How to create a dynamite selling tool that will instantly tell people whether they’ll love your story or hate it. And you want them to either love it or hate it.* How to get inside the skin of every one of your characters—even your villain. Especially your villain.* How to find a deep, emotively powerful theme for your story. Do you know the one best point in your novel to unveil your theme—when your reader is most eager to hear it?* How to know when to backtrack, and why backtracking is essential to writing great fiction.* How to fire-test each scene to guarantee it’ll be high-impact—before you write it.Excerpt from Chapter 1:Goldilocks had always wanted to write a novel. She learned to read before she went to kindergarten. In grade school, she always had her nose in a book. In junior high, the other kids thought she was weird, because she actually liked reading those dusty old novels in literature class. All through high school, Goldilocks dreamed of writing a book of her own someday.But when she went to college, her parents persuaded her to study something practical. Goldilocks hated practical, and secretly she kept reading novels. But she was a very obedient girl, so she did what her parents told her. She got a very practical degree in marketing. After college, she got a job that bored her to tears—but at least it was practical.Then she got married, and within a few years, she had two children, a girl and then a boy. She quit her job to devote full time to them. As the children grew, Goldilocks took great joy in introducing them to the stories she had loved as a child. When her son went off to kindergarten, Goldilocks thought about looking for a job. But her resume now had a seven-year hole in it, and her practical skills were long out of date. The only jobs Goldilocks could qualify for were minimum wage.She suddenly realized that being practical had made her horribly unhappy. On a whim, Goldilocks decided to do the one thing she had always wanted more than anything else—she was finally going to write a novel.She didn’t care if it was impractical.She didn’t care if nobody would ever read her novel.She was going to do it just because she wanted to.For the first time in years, she was going to do something just for herself.And nobody was going to stop her.

Tell, Don't Show!

James Lofquist - 2013
    And your next, and your next... The technique I share within these pages is extremely easy to learn and do. You will be able to start using it now, today, and see immediate differences in your writing.It's also a fast read. I've condensed the book down to just a handful of pages, so you can read it all in less than an hour. I know what it's like to try and improve my writing by reading books on how to write. Too much time is lost wading through pages and pages of filler. And the more of these books that we read, the thicker our brains become, with too many details and steps and opinions. This book is different. Read it over lunch, and then go try it out. You'll see for yourself that it works.Here is a bit more about why Tell, Don't Show! is truly worth your time.First of all, the words will come much easier. I promise it. I've seen it transform the writing of many students and friends over the years, and before that, my own writing. The technique is so simple that you won't have any excuse for not using it the next time you sit down to write. It's a real pleasure to write this way. Forget about being a suffering writer. With this one little technique, you'll actually learn to love the process of writing.And do you ever wonder why you aren't writing so much? Do you think that if you could write faster, much faster, you'd want to write more? We're not talking about blindly banging away at the keys, but rather, quickly penning powerful stories and novels in a fraction of the time it takes you right now. That is, if you're even writing now. The truth is that when our writing is too slow and introspective, we lose momentum, and sooner or later, we finally stop. Don't do that. Write faster. The technique I'm sharing in this book will show you how to write faster and a lot more than you are now.Finally, by using this technique, you'll find your creativity expanding by the hour, by the day! It will free up your imagination to focus on the big picture, lifting you up and away from both micromanagement and nitpickiness, such common traps during first drafts. Your stories will grow richer and deeper, and you'll find yourself seeing your characters and settings more vividly. Subtext and subplots will rise up and beg for your attention. And this is just the beginning.You'll find all of the above and much more in Tell, Don't Show!

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes

Jack M. Bickham - 1992
    This book gives you a map.Oh, what tricky terrain you're traveling! You must reckon with: Character, Conflict, Point of View, Dialogue, Editors, Editors, and Editors, who--by returning stories they see as problem-plagued--can burst your hopes of publication.Where are the problems? Editors rarely take the time to map them out, so Jack Bickham has. In this book, he spotlights the 38 most common fiction writing land mines--writing mistakes that can turn even dynamite story ideas into slush pile rejects. And he guides you in overcoming them.In to-the-point style, he shows you how to:conquer procrastination--and put ink on paper regularlydump wimpy characters--and build characters ready to actlook for trouble--and create conflicts for your characterscut coincidence--and put better-than-life logic into fictionescape the fog--and find and stick to your story's directionfree feelings--and fire your fiction with passion and emotionIn short, Bickham helps you take a giant step toward publication.Read this book. Strengthen your writing. And start setting off explosions where they belong: on the sales charts.

The Double

Otto Rank - 1914
    Ewer's silent film classic 'The Student of Prague', is primarily a study of the Doppelganger theme as it appears in European and American literature, exemplified in the works by such authors as Goethe, Hoffman, Dostoevsky and Wilde. By integrating psychoanalytic concepts with insights from poetry and myth, the investigation is extended to examine issues at the core of human existence: identity, narcissism, the relation of past to present, and the fear of death.In his book 'Acts of Will: The Life and Work of Otto Rank', Rank's biographer E. J. Lieberman has described The Double as a "seminal Work on the relation of shadow, reflection, ghost and twin to the idea of soul and immortality".

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, First Series

Malcolm Cowley - 1959
    Forster, Joyce Cary, Dorothy Parker, James Thurber, Thorton Wilder, William Faulkner, Georges Simenon, Frank O'Connor, Robert Penn Warren, Alberto Moravia, Nelson Algren, Angus Wilson, William Styron, Truman Capote, Francoise Fagan.

The Art of Intimacy: The Space Between

Stacey D'Erasmo - 2013
    She argues for a more honest, more complex portrait of the true nature of the connections and missed connections among characters and, fascinatingly, between the writer and the reader. D'Erasmo takes us deep into the structure and grammar of these intimacies as they have been portrayed by such writers as Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and William Maxwell, and also by visual artists and filmmakers. She asks whether writing about intimacy is like staring straight into the sun, but it is her own brilliance that dazzles in the piercing and original book, The Art of Intimacy.

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

Orson Scott Card - 1990
    Your readers are curious and want you to take them beyond ""The Fields We Know,"" to help them explore the infinite boundaries of the worlds you create.Here, science fiction great Orson Scott Card shares his expertise in these genres. You'll learn:- What is and isn't science fiction and fantasy, and by whose standards -- and where your work fits in.- How to build, populate, and dramatize a credible, inviting world your readers will want to explore.- How to use the MICE quotient -- milieu, idea, character, event -- to structure a successful story.- Where the markets are and how to reach them to get published.The knowledge and skills you gain through this book will help you effectively lead your readers into the strangeness you create -- one tantalizing step at a time.

Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft

Natalie Goldberg - 2000
    Now what? How do you turn this raw material into finished stories, essays, poems, novels, memoirs? Drawing on her own experience as a writer and a student of Zen, Natalie shows you how to create a field big enough to allow your “wild mind” to wander — and then gently direct its tremendous energy into whatever you want to write.Here, too, is invaluable advice on how to overcome writer’s block, how to deal with the fear of criticism and rejection, how to get the most from working with an editor, and how to learn from reading accomplished authors. With humor and compassion, Goldberg recounts her own mistakes on the way to publication — and how you can avoid the most common pitfalls of the beginning writer. Through it all there is a deep celebration of writing itself — not just as the means to an end, but as a path to living a deeper, more fully alive life.