Industrial-Sized Deals Best Books of the Month Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Andra Day Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Shop Popular Services tmnt tmnt tmnt  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Disney Infinity 3.0 Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Deal of the Day

Method and Madness: The Making of a Story: A Guide to Writing Fiction Revised Edition

23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393928174
ISBN-10: 0393928179
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $21.90
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Rent
$15.43 - $19.32
Buy new
$48.22
More Buying Choices
22 New from $48.22 40 Used from $38.84
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


InterDesign Brand Store Awareness Textbooks
$48.22 FREE Shipping. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Method and Madness: The Making of a Story: A Guide to Writing Fiction + The Best American Short Stories 2014
Price for both: $59.43

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alice LaPlante teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University and Stanford University, where she is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow. Her fiction has been published in the Southwest Review, Epoch, and Stanford Magazine, and her nonfiction has been published in Discover, BusinessWeek, and the San Jose Mercury News, among other publications. She lives in Palo Alto, California.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 620 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Revised edition (December 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393928179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393928174
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Soapsuds on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Author LaPlante's textbook Method and Madness--The Making of a Story is a textbook you will not put down. You will be surprised to find new twists and turns on the subject and the various ideas of writing a short story, a novel or a novelette. For example, I was surprised and at first shocked to find out the everlasting dictum of "show and don't tell" have been misinterpreted. This is because high school professors and even college professors who continue to teach their students not to "tell" when writing, but to concentrate on "showing". LaPlante explains the "Show and Tell" idea in a clear understandable and clear way. This concept is explained in Chapter 5 under the subheading of, "Why You Need to Show and Tell--Dramatizing and Narrating". The chapter, as well as the rest of the chapters, is followed by a set of exercises the student and or reader may undertake in order to understand the nuances of the chapter. The exercises are followed by two short story readings. In this chapter, the reader is introduced to the short story titled, "Brownies" by ZZ Packer and "Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor. Both short stories complement the "Show and Tell" ideas explained in the given chapter.

The textbook consist of fourteen chapters, an anthology of ten stories and thirty-nine readings. The chapters are as follows:

Chapter 1, What Is This Thing Called Creative Writing--The Basics?
Chapter 2, The Gift of Not Knowing--Writing as Discovery
Chapter 3, Details Details--The Basic Building Blocks
Chapter 4, The Short Story--Defining and Shaping
Chapter 5, Why You Need to Show and Tell--Dramatizing and Narrating
Chapter 6, Who's Telling This Story? Point of View
Chapter 7, How Reliable Is This Narrator?
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Erin Donovan on July 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had to buy this book for a short story workshop I enrolled in. I wasn't expecting much, having had lots of creative writing textbooks assigned by a lot of teachers, and frankly found them all to be boring and not-very-helpful. This one just blew me away. I thought I "knew it all" -- but LaPlante keeps challenging conventional wisdom. She gives you the deepest, most masterful explanations of craft I've ever encountered -- and then encourages you to make up your mind about how to use these tools. No imposing of narrow-minded rules that you all too often get in workshops. I have to admit, it made me want to go back and tell former colleagues in workshops...wait! I was wrong about that! The readings are great, but what I find especially useful are the examples. LaPlante doesn't ever tell you anything without fully illustrating it with an excerpt -- whether from a published masterpiece or from a student's work. So you're always grounded. Get this book. You'll be as grateful as I am to the teacher who assigned it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Winstead on September 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has tons of great pointers and exercises to help with dialogue, plot, and emotion. It also includes short stories written by the masters (O'Connor, Hemingway, etc) to illustrate the author's points about the certain writing components. Great guide for everyone, and while some may already "know" all this stuff, it's a wonderful reminder.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Singh on July 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
.
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California)
.

At my suggestion, our writing group recently switched from another book as the main reference to Alice LaPlante's "METHOD AND MADNESS: THE MAKING OF A STORY. Our writing group comprises beginners as well as two MFA writers who have published short fiction in well-known literary magazines. Two months later, the consensus: this book is a model of lucid exposition of fiction-writing art and craft. This exposition is complemented with craft-analyses of 29 masterpiece stories by authors such as Flannery O' Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, and Robert Olen Butler.

Here's an example of LaPlante's lucid exposition. Chapter Five, titled "Why You Need to Show and Tell: Dramatizing and Narrating," opens:

'Show, Don't Tell.' "If you've ever taken a creative writing workshop, shown a story or essay to a writer friend who has taken workshops, or read just about any beginning book on creative writing, you will have bumped into this piece of conventional wisdom. The only problem is it's wrong. Well, wrong is perhaps too strong a word. Let's say it's certainly not always right" (page 147).

In support of her assertion "show, don't tell" advice needs to be modified, LaPlante cites from Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Lolita":
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sins, my soul, Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta' She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Sanders on May 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
The mixture of stories and methods of writing is interesting and very helpful to a beginning writer, as well as a seasoned one. I recommend this book highly.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Method and Madness: The Making of a Story: A Guide to Writing Fiction
This item: Method and Madness: The Making of a Story: A Guide to Writing Fiction
Price: $48.22
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: writing book