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Novelsmithing: The Structural Foundation Of Plot, Character, And Narration Paperback – February 27, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Sheppard is the author of the recently published non-fiction work Oedipus on a Pale Horse and The Mysteries, A Novel of Ancient Eleusis, which will appear in bookstores later in 2009. He has a bachelor's from Arizona State University, a master's from Stanford University and also studied American literature at the University of Colorado. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, and in The Arvon International Poetry Competition Anthology (Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, editors). A veteran of many writing groups and conferences, he is a past member of the Rocky Mountain Writers Guild, having chaired its Literary Society and participated in its Live Poets Society and Advanced Novel Workshop. He taught astronomy, novel writing and Greek mythology at New Mexico State University - Carlsbad. He has traveled throughout Western Europe and is an amateur photographer and astronomer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tragedy's Workshop (February 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981800718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981800714
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,561,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been using David Sheppard's materials for several years now in my novel-writing classes and in my own work, so I'm delighted that a book version is now available. When I was a short fiction writer making the transition to novels, NOVELSMITHING saved my manuscript! It was the first thing I'd read that allowed me to structure the plot according to the true internal conflict of the protagonist, instead of suggesting artificial charts and gimmicks.

If you know me, you know I love the Hero's Journey, and I still use it as a tool in my writing. But for me, Sheppard's approach -- which begins with a 3-word Premise -- went directly to the heart of the story and worked BETTER for me than beginning with the Hero's Journey. (And of course, every story has both a Premise and a Hero's Journey, so I didn't lose anything.)

(I only gave it a 4 because the first edition has some copy-editing glitches.)

Highly recommended if you are a character-driven novelist and are tired of methods that seem contrived.
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Format: Paperback
I discovered Novelsmithing when I needed it most and credit it for saving the manuscript which would become my debut novel, Being.
In Novelsmithing, David Sheppard offers a wealth of practical advice not offered in other fiction-writing guides. Furthermore, he not only breaks down important concepts so they're easier to understand, but he also provides diagrams of key concepts, which I found especially helpful. In my opinion, Novelsmithing belongs in every writer's library because it is as important a read as Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction.

Tamara Mousner, author of Being
Twitter: @trmousner
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been writing all of my life, but until recently, I had never finished an entire novel. In fact, I never made it past chapter five. I read this book, and voila! I just finished a first draft of 170,000+ words. I'm reading this book again before I tackle my first revision. In short, I'd buy this book, if I were you ;-)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In "Novelsmithing", Davis Sheppard does a great job in pointing out key element of successful writing that are usually overlooked.
Structure and technique will be easy to achieve and improve with simple concepts.
If you're working on your first novel, this book is a must!
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Format: Paperback
A great guide which offers a structured approach to the craft of writing, especially if you write character-driven stories.
Definitely one that you'll turn to again and again... a great addition to your reference library!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Several good points to consider but author got mired in too much psychology; felt more like he was trying to impress us with his knowledge about psychology than provide us with book-writing information
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This ebook is riddled with formatting problems and takes a pretty obtuse approach to novel writing. It seems to me like it was written more by an English teacher than by a novelist. It actually references a dictionary definition of "novel" when setting up the book's core philosophy. "Creative Wordsmithing" is a much more helpful read for learning about plot structure (and it's half as long and better researched). I would go back to Creative Wordsmithing over this book for writing help any day.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not finished with it yet, because I'm finding it useful. I'm a "plotter," and the focus on craft is resonating with me. It's sort of a _Shop Class as Soulcraft_ for writers.
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