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The Craft of Writing Paperback – June 17, 1983

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 17, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393300501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393300505
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #991,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of the material in this small book is contained in every other how-to-write book.

Sloane's wife hobbled this book together using Sloane's notes and letters and unfinished manuscript. No doubt the book would be better if Sloane had written it; it seems incomplete and unpolished. But I cannot fault Sloane for something he didnt do. One of the other reviewers notes how you have to read the book a few times to get what Sloane meant. You shouldnt have to do this. His message should be clear and obvious; he was an editor!

But the bottom-line is: Is the book worth keeping? Yes. It has a point or two that are valuable and not found elsewhere. Like? The significance of the reader.
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Format: Paperback
Many people might think Sloane to be kinda harsh, but, reality hurts. In order to express your creative juices, you must first master the technique. Some people might say it hinders the creative process, and these people,I believe, just write fiction without a sense of art. Art is not just, in my opinion, not just the ability to create something interesting, but making it appealing and correct (the craft) is also essential. How are you gonna express yourself if what you are writing is not readable or does not please the reader in all the dimensions that make a piece of writing readable? I recommend this book to many writers accross the internet, who believe that having a nice story is everything, yet I cannot (most of the time) get past the first two parragraphs. Even if you think he is a tough cookie, Sloane must be read. In order to achieve synthesis, you must look at both sides, even if you don't agree with one (which is not the case with me). Sloane is not really abstract in this book as some may say. Others are really abstract, talking about emotions and feelings and not giving concrete examples of what they mean. I think anyone interested in making the art of fiction his/her career should at least read the first few chapters.
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Format: Paperback
Sloan was a highly regarded editor for many many MANY years and really knows what works and what doesn't. If you want to be really good, if you have any aspirations to creating something in words that will last beyond a trend or whim of the moment, read this book.
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By A Customer on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is concentrated stuff. One must read it a few times to get what the author wants to get across.
It is not a straightforward "how to" manual. I am confident that there is some good to be gained by reading it.
However, a warning is in order, especially for aspiring writers: W.S. is a harsh and demanding editor; be kind to yourself or you will never write and make enough mistakes to become a good writer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was surprised by Sloane's view on contemporary fiction--he supports and encourages it. I expected a lecture on why we should all aspire to write like "the greats" but nope. He distinguishes between captive readers (students who are forced to read assigned literature in, say, a college class) and voluntary readers (today's Amazon and book store customers), and he supports the idea that an author must write to his/her intended audience. I was surprised by this statement, which he makes early in the book: "When a book is not passing under the eye of a reader, when it is on a shelf, it is nothing but ink, paper, and cloth--an artifact. If it has permanence, if it is a classic, it still has no separate life." He suggests that a reader is a participant, not a spectator; that contemporary authors should learn to captivate the reader and make themselves invisible, and, surprisingly, he does not advocate writing for "posterity." He then goes on to discuss very specific techniques about writing, in detail: how to write a scene, how to know when the scene is finished, the difference between "theme" and "plot" . . . Personally, I would put this book on the "must have" list, right next to Strunk and White.
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