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Dialogue: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Effective Dialogue

Gloria Kempton - 2004
    Craft Compelling DialogueWhen should your character talk, what should (or shouldn't) he say, and when should he say it? How do you know when dialogue—or the lack thereof—is dragging down your scene? How do you fix character who speaks with the laconic wit of the Terminator?Write Great Fiction: Dialogue by successful author and instructor Gloria Kempton has the answers to all of these questions and more! It's packed with innovative exercises and instructions designed to teach you how to:•Create dialogue that drives the story•Weave dialogue with narrative and action•Use dialogue to pace your story•Write dialogue that fits specific genres•Avoid the common pitfalls of writing dialogue•Make dialogue unique for each characterAlong with dozens of dialogue excerpts form today's most popular writers, Write Great Fiction: Dialogue gives you the edge you need to make your story stand out from the rest.

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish

James Scott Bell - 2004
    Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot, including: Techniques for crafting strong beginnings, middles, and endsEasy-to-understand plotting diagrams and chartsBrainstorming techniques for original plot ideasThought-provoking exercises at the end of each chapterStory structure models and methods for all genresTips and tools for correcting common plot problemsFilled with plot examples from popular novels, comprehensive checklists, and practical hands-on guidance, "Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure" gives you the skills you need to approach plot and structure like an experienced pro.

Beginnings, Middles & Ends

Nancy Kress - 1992
    Keep them tight and crisp throughout. Conclude them with a wallop.Is the story or novel you've been carrying around in your head the same one you see on the page? Or does the dialogue suddenly sound flat and predictable? Do the events seem to ramble?Translating a flash of inspiration into a compelling story requires careful crafting. The words you choose, how you describe characters, and the way you orchestrate conflict all make the difference--the difference between a story that is slow to begin, flounders midway, or trails off at the end--and one that holds the interest of readers and editors to the final page.By demonstrating effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story, Nancy Kress will help you...hook the editor on the first three paragraphs make--and keep--your story's "implicit promise"build drama and credibility by controlling your prose Dozens of exercises help you strengthen your short story or novel. Plus, you'll sharpen skills and gain new insight into...the price a writer pays for flashbacks six ways characters should "reveal" themselves techniques for writing--and rewriting Let this working resource be your guide to successful stories--from beginning to end.

Writing the Breakout Novel

Donald Maass - 2001
    Maybe you've already been published, but your latest effort is stuck in mid-list limbo. Whatever the case may be, author and literary agent Donald Maass can show you how to take your prose to the next level and write a breakout novel - one that rises out of obscurity and hits the best-seller lists.Maass details the elements that all breakout novels share - regardless of genre - then shows you writing techniques that can make your own books stand out and succeed in a crowded marketplace.You'll learn to:- establish a powerful and sweeping sense of time and place - weave subplots into the main action for a complex, engrossing story - create larger-than-life characters that step right off the page - explore universal themes that will interest a broad audience of readers - sustain a high degree of narrative tension from start to finish - develop an inspired premise that sets your novel apart from the competitionThen, using examples from the recent works of several best-selling authors - including novelist Anne Perry - Maass illustrates methods for upping the ante in every aspect of your novel writing. You'll capture the eye of an agent, generate publisher interest and lay the foundation for a promising career.

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)

Lisa Cron - 2016
    Informed by story consultant Lisa Cron's science-based insights into how story structure is built into the architecture of the brain, this guide shows writers how to plumb the nitty-gritty details of their raw idea to organically generate a story scene by scene. Once writers reach the end of Cron's program, they will have both a blueprint that works and plenty of compelling writing suitable for their finished novel--allowing them to write forward with confidence.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Renni Browne - 1993
    Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

Jessica Brody - 2018
    Now, for the first time ever, bestselling author and writing teacher, Jessica Brody, takes the beloved Save the Cat! plotting principals and applies them to the craft of novel writing in this exciting new “workshop style” guide, featuring over 20 full beat sheets from popular novels throughout time.Whether you’re writing your first novel or your seventeenth, Save the Cat! breaks down plot in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method so you can write stories that resonate! This book can help you with any of the following:Outlining a new novelRevising an existing novelBreaking out of the dreaded “writer’s block”Fixing a “broken” novelReviewing a completed novelFleshing out/test driving a new idea to see if it “has legs”Implementing feedback from agents and/or editorsHelping give constructive feedback to other writersBut above all else, SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL will help you better understand the fundamentals and mechanics of plot, character transformation, and what makes a story work!

20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them

Ronald B. Tobias - 1993
    These tales gain their power through plots that connect with the audience on both an emotional and intellectual level.Inside, Ronald B. Tobias details these 20 time-tested plots. Each is discussed and analyzed, illustrating how a successful plot integrates all the elements of a story. Tobias then shows you how to use these plots effectively in your own work.Tobias then goes to the next level, showing you how to choose and develop plot in fiction. He shows you how to craft plot for any subject matter, so that you develop your work evenly and effectively. As a result, your fiction will be more cohesive and convincing, making your story unforgettable for readers everywhere.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

K.M. Weiland - 2011
    But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will: Help you choose the right type of outline for youGuide you in brainstorming plot ideasAid you in discovering your charactersShow you how to structure your scenesExplain how to format your finished outlineInstruct you in how to use your outlineReveal the benefits:Ensures cohesion and balancePrevents dead-end ideasProvides foreshadowingOffers assurance and motivationDispel misconceptions:Requires formal formattingLimits creativityRobs the joy of discoveryTakes too much timeEven if you're certain outlining isn't for you, the book offers all kinds of important tips on plot, structure, and character. Includes exclusive interviews with Larry Brooks, Elizabeth Spann Craig, Lisa Grace, Dan L. Hays, Jody Hedlund, Carolyn Kaufman, Becky Levine, Roz Morris, John Robinson, and Aggie Villanueva, answering important questions:Can you describe your outlining process?What is the greatest benefit of outlining?What is the biggest potential pitfall of outlining?Do you recommend "pantsing" for certain situations and outlining for others?What's the most important contributing factor to a successful outline?

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

Angela Ackerman - 2012
    When showing our characters’ feelings, we often use the first idea that comes to mind, and they end up smiling, nodding, and frowning too much.If you need inspiration for creating characters’ emotional responses that are personalized and evocative, this ultimate show-don’t-tell guide for emotion can help. It includes: Body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for 130 emotions that cover a range of intensity from mild to severe, providing innumerable options for individualizing a character’s reactions A breakdown of the biggest emotion-related writing problems and how to overcome them Advice on what should be done beforedrafting to make sure your characters’ emotions will be realistic and consistent Instruction for how to show hidden feelings and emotional subtext through dialogue and nonverbal cues And much more! The Emotion Thesaurus, in its easy-to-navigate list format, will inspire you to create stronger, fresher character expressions and engage readers from your first page to your last.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Natalie Goldberg - 1986
    In her groundbreaking first book, she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice--"it is backed by two thousand years of studying the mind." This edition includes a new preface and an interview with the author.

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time

Jordan E. Rosenfeld - 2007
    This title explains the fundamentals of strong scene construction and how other useful fiction-writing techniques, such as character development, description, and transitions must function within the framework of individual scenes.

Scene & Structure

Jack M. Bickham - 1993
    An imprisoned man receives an unexpected caller, after which "everything changed..."And the reader is hooked. But whether or not readers will stay on for the entire wild ride will depend on how well the writer structures the story, scene by scene.This book is your game plan for success. Using dozens of examples from his own work - including "Dropshot," "Tiebreaker" and other popular novels - Jack M. Bickham will guide you in building a sturdy framework for your novel, whatever its form or length. You'll learn how to: -"worry" your readers into following your story to the end -prolong your main character's struggle while moving the story ahead -juggle cause and effect to serve your story action As you work on crafting compelling scenes that move the reader, moment by moment, toward the story's resolution, you'll see why believable fiction must make more sense than real life. Every scene should end in disastersome scenes should be condensed, and others built big. Whatever your story, this book can help you arrive at a happy ending in the company of satisfied readers.

GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction

Debra Dixon - 1999
    Using charts, examples, and movies, the author breaks these key elements down into understandable components and walks the reader through the process of laying this foundation in his or her own work.Learn what causes sagging middles and how to fix them, which goals are important, which aren’t and why, how to get your characters to do what they need for your plot in a believable manner, and how to use conflict to create a good story. GMC can be used not only in plotting, but in character development, sharpening scenes, pitching ideas to an editor, and evaluating whether an idea will work.Be confident your ideas will work before you write 200 pages.Plan a road map to keep your story on track.Discovery why your scenes aren’t working and what to do about it.Create characters that editors and readers will care about.

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

Noah Lukeman - 2002
    Often the stories sound great in concept, but never live up to their potential on the page. Lukeman shows beginning and advanced writers how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide---a veritable fiction-writing workshop---without boundless new ideas.