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


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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,650,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

More About the Author

David Sheppard is the author of the non-fiction books Story Alchemy: The Search for the Philosopher's Stone of Storytelling; and Novelsmithing: The Structural Foundation of Plot, Character, and Narration. He has written several novels including The Escape of Bobby Ray Hammer and The Mysteries: A Novel of Ancient Eleusis. Sheppard holds a bachelor's from Arizona State University and a master's from Stanford University, and he has 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, Sheppard 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 has taught astronomy, novel writing, and Greek mythology at New Mexico State University - Carlsbad. He has also traveled throughout Western Europe, and is an amateur photographer and astronomer.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 6, 2009
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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T R Mousner on April 3, 2011
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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Robinson on May 8, 2012
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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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Chamberlin on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not the kind of author who just starts writing with stream of consciousness. I need a plan. David Sheppard's book was extremely helpful in this regard. His system of organizing chapters flows organically out of the basic premise. His story arc, consisting of plot points, helped me determine how to fit each chapter into the whole. The character arcs also helped me fit my protagonists into the storyline. While this book will not be for those who let the muse guide them, I think it can be a valuable writing tool for many who would like a more structured approach.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By VEENEE on April 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is different from other writing books in that it contains real nuggets. It contains everything you need to start writing straight away, a feat not many books can boast of . If there is any grouse I have with the book it is the writing style of the author. You would think his first language is not English.
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