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Elements of The Writing Craft: More Than 150 Lessons for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers [Kindle Edition]

Olmstead Robert
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Great narratives are built piece by piece, through myriad small tasks and careful moves. In this landmark book, Robert Olmstead shows how distinguished writers past and present have built their fiction and nonfiction. Through this writer's-eye analysis of more than 150 of literature's most finely crafted passages, you'll learn to read like a writer. Then, more than 500 innovative exercises challenge you to experiment with - and expand upon - the techniques of the masters, so you can use them for great narratives of your own.

Editorial Reviews Review

"As writers," says Robert Olmstead in his introduction to Elements of the Writing Craft, "we have our destination in mind: novel, short story, essay, memoir." In order to reach that destination, we must first pass along any number of byways, choosing how to tell our stories, bring our characters and settings to life, present time and point of view, and employ voice and language. Olmstead uses excerpts from the works of John McPhee, Jamaica Kincaid, Michael Ondaatje, Wallace Stegner, Flannery O'Connor, and some 150 or so other masters of the language to investigate as many aspects of the writing craft. Each excerpt is followed by an analysis of the ways in which the writing accomplishes its task, be it creating a character who is crazy, making quick shifts in time, or telling your story from a child's perspective. The analysis, in turn, is followed by a series of writing exercises that enable you to play around with that element of writing. "The best writers have already written the best [works]," challenges Olmstead. "Until you write one better."

Product Details

  • File Size: 538 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1st edition (May 30, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,123 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most useful guide for writers I've read October 6, 2002
Often when I come across a book considered a guide for fiction writers, I feel first an excitement and then a letdown. So many of these books are impractical and strictly theoretical, never allowing you to move easily from idea to example. Olmstead's book is the exception. In it, he has considered nearly every way writers tell stories, provided excellent examples of their methods and explained the effect, and followed these with exercises for the reader/writer. A number of my short stories contain passages that began as products of these exercises. You can't beat that for practicality. If you write, and you want to expand your understanding of crafting your stories, buy this book. Read it as a companion to John Gardner's Art of Fiction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for writers September 5, 2007
Books about writing nearly always disappoint me by promising a lot more than they actually deliver, or straying into the "self-help" category without offering any solid writing advice. Olmstead's "Elements of the Writing Craft" is one of those rare modest gems that gets down to business and stays on track from start to finish, doing exactly what it promises to do: give aspiring writers a no-nonsense crash course in prose. Each section is well defined and has an accompanying quotation to illustrate its point. Anyone interested in improving their writing, whether in fiction or nonfiction, will find it difficult to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AUTHOR'S 'BEST FRIEND' July 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of how-to books for beginners on how to write fiction and non-fiction, but very few for the more advanced writer who wants to excel--that is, until a writer friend discovered and referred me to Robert Olmstead's "Elements of the Writing Craft." It was like discovering a rare jewel. Best of all, it was easy to read and easy to follow the well-planned exercises.

The book is incredible, analyzing works of the masters. Olmstead fills the book with exercises the author can apply to their own work. His guide to better writing has been an incredible help to me, and I highly recommend this one-of-a-kind book to develop better writing skills.

Bonnie Myrick Eaton
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done January 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Elements of the Writing Craft is well written and contains so much useful information about writing. The pace of information is perfect and the writing examples are very thorough. This book is a keeper for anyone interested in the writing profession.
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