Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (Modern Library Paperbacks) Modern Library Pbk. Ed Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0375755583
ISBN-10: 0375755586
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.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$9.99 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$11.00 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
80 New from $7.21 73 Used from $2.14
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Month
See the 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.
$11.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 16 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (Modern Library Paperbacks)
  • +
  • On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
  • +
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Total price: $33.57
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There's no shortage of writing guides available, but Koch's is especially valuable as it collects the comments and thoughts of such writers as Anthony Trollope, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Stephen King, in addition to his own sage advice. Koch, who taught at Columbia University's writing program, divides his book into the stages of the writing process. "Begin right now," he urges his readers. He goes over the basics, such as the importance of reading, the difficulty of finding time to write, and the importance of plot, with the added bonus of backing quotes from writers who have been around the block and found success. Learning that Toni Morrison, too, had to balance work and writing, or that Ray Bradbury writes six or seven drafts of each of his stories, is bound to buoy struggling writers. One thing he avoids is talking about the difficulties of a writer's life--a student sagely advised him to leave that to everyone else. Koch's tone is both encouraging and forthright, and his accessible, friendly guide will be essential for aspiring writers. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“An extraordinarily comprehensive and practical work by a master craftsman and a master analyst of the craft.” —Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising and Anything Goes

“Stephen Koch was my teacher long ago. Now he is everyone’s teacher, indelibly. This is a book not just for the beginning writer but for every writer.” —Martha McPhee, author of the National Book Award nominee Gorgeous Lies

The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop is a treasure trove of wisdom, both immensely practical and philosophical, entertaining and thought-provoking. Koch takes us inside the writing process, and it is impossible not to emerge transformed.” —Joanna Hershon, author of Swimming
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library Pbk. Ed edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375755586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375755583
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Isaak on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's unfortunate that this book is saddled with such an ugly title. It is an excellent tour of all aspects of the craft, and covers the process of revision--and stages of drafts--in considerable depth.

Stephen Koch is a respected author and also an admired teacher (nearly 30 years of teaching creative writing at Columbia and Princeton), and a number of his students have gone on to brilliant literary careers.

Some people scoff at the idea--which Koch supports--that stories are discovered during the writing process. Writers from William Faulkner to Stephen King to Martin Amis (and I bet you've never seen those three in a sentence together before) all claim exactly that--stories are discovered, not planned out like the construction of a cabinet.

Don't pick up this book if you're looking for exercises or assignments. I've taken novel workshops from three accomplished novelists, and none of them focused on 'exercises or assignments.' We were told to go write our books, and then bring in chapters for critiques. In this sense, what Koch has written here is pretty close to how a workshop approaches the problem of building a novel.

For those who want them, there are plenty of books out there with connect-the-dots instructions, and tons of annoying (to me) exercises. The only one I can recommned is Brian Kiteley's "The 3 am Epiphany." I didn't do any of the exercises--I save my writing for writing--but they are clever and stimulating to read.
Comment 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
As a professional writer for over 25 years, I've read many writing books. The Modern Library Writer's Workshop by Stephen Koch is one of the best I've read. Although the subtitle of the book is A Guide to the Craft of Fiction, this is a book every writer who is serious about writing needs to read. Story is a critical element of nonfiction as well as fiction. Unlike many how-to-write authors, Koch avoids taking the superficial, fill-in-the blank approach. His chapters include Beginnings, The Writing Life, Shaping the Story, Making Characters Live, Inventing Your Style, the Story of the Self, Working and Reworking, and Finishing. The pages of this book are filled with ideas that helped me to look at my writing with new insight. If you can afford only one writing book, this is the one to buy.
Comment 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I am one of those people who has been writing things for years but never got serious enough to write an actual story. Well, recently I got serious enough. I checked out a stack of writing books from the library as well as pulled out what I already had at home. There was a lot of good advice in these books. But Koch's book described the inner problems I had that were preventing me from progressing, and did so consistenly. It's one of those books that you read and find yourself nodding in agreement as a grin spreads across your face. This book has done more for me in a shorter period of time than any other writing book I've read. My weaknesses were exposed as a common problem of would-be writers, not something wrong with me alone. Though there is no magic formula (and Koch offers none) to apply it's good to know that if you apply yourself diligently enough there is no reason why you can't write that great piece.
Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
You will find, when you start shopping for books on fiction writing craft, that there are many of them. Most are well-intentioned but you will only read them once and the verdict will be: "Thanks for sharing."

Stephen Koch's title is one that many working authors of my acquaintance dip into frequently. It is a motivational work as much as a writing guide, but don't underestimate the value of such a cattle prod, especially if you can't quite find your way into your masterpiece or you are trying to develop your writing as a beginnner.

Perhaps more than people in highly structured occupations, authors can fall prey to procrastination, fruitless self-questioning, and creative blanks. Author, Stephen Koch comes at his subject from the position that a writer writes and that a story reveals itself as the writers works on it. After more than twenty years as an editor and fiction author, I am inclined to agree with him. I have found that his small volume delivers some thoroughly practical advice while at the same time prompting the writer to get on with the process of writing.

Throughout the book, Koch offers quotes about the craft from notable authors. Some people seem to find these inspiring and interesting, and believe they can learn something from accomplished peers. A few I've spoken with do not welcome this content and wish Koch had focused more on craft methodologies.

While he covers various bases, it's certainly true that other guides will offer a much more thorough technical treatment of character, narrative, plot etc. Yet, writing is not all about a "correct formula". One of the most helpful aspects of Koch's approach is that of mentoring.
Read more ›
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books on writing I've ever read. I highly recommend it. I'd give it 10 stars if I had the option.
What another reviewer states, as "name-dropping" is actually research. Anyone who has ever written a term paper knows this. In order for the writer, Stephen Koch to include all of the facts and quotes, he had to find them. I thank him for writing this book and for doing all the research required to take it to a higher level. As the back cover states, " If you can't get Vladimir Nabakov, Virginia Wolfe, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez together, The Modern Library Writer's Workshop gives you the next best thing." The quotes from great writers are inspiring. They bring the writers alive.
Like notes from a great writing workshop, I'll continue to re-read this book. This is definitely one book I'll keep accessible on my desk.
If you are interested in other books on writing, I suggest Natalie Goldberg's Writing down the Bones.
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (Modern Library Paperbacks)

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: fiction writing, writing book