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How To Be A Fantastic Writer Paperback – October 12, 2017
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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Having seen the names of the writers these two excellent authors include in the examples they use from commercial fiction, I perhaps need to re-adjust my own definition of the genre. Who wouldn’t want to be in the same company as Charles Dickens, Stephen King, and Kurt Vonnegut?
So, I’d already learned a valuable lesson before the book even starts.
The authors have diligently studied the structure and techniques of fiction writers to reach conclusions they can pass on to readers here.
They’ve analysed many works to discover why some succeed and others fail. And the hints and examples that arise from this study they pass on to those who want to learn. Count me in!
The topics covered include the understanding of structures within the novel: flashback, time-jumps, point-of view, and descriptive prose, and they examine how different approaches can affect the tension and pace of a scene. All valuable insights for the author who wants to gain readers.
How students of technique use the book is left to individuals. There are no hard and fast rules, merely examples provided with analysis pointing out strengths and weaknesses. Different approaches are suggested for beginners and experienced writers.
I don’t plot: it doesn’t work for me. But plotting is probably the best way to begin when new to the craft. For me, working as a pantster, the advice presented in this book is much more useful during the initial editing stage; that period of intense restructuring and attention to detail that follows the creative burst. I have three or four unpublished novels I now feel would benefit from the techniques and structures advised here. I certainly intend to follow the erudite guidance and see whether I can rescue these potentially good reads from oblivion. It’s an exercise I look forward to under the instruction of these two gifted writers who share their knowledge so well.
The manual is divided into only 6 chapters, but each is then subdivided into numerous discrete packages presented in a form that’s easily absorbed and followed.
I gave the book a full read-through initially, to see whether it would be of benefit to the writer of several published several novels. And the answer is it most definitely will. A second reading exposed many new ideas to me and filled me with such inspiration that I’m now eager to put these to the test.
A very useful addition to the library of any writer, but especially valuable to those who want to try their hand at commercial fiction.