|Print List Price:||$12.99|
Save $7.00 (54%)
How To Improve Your Speculative Fiction Openings, 2nd ed. Kindle Edition
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.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
- ASIN : B007O272ZI
- Publisher : ReAnimus Press; 2nd edition (June 26, 2013)
- Publication date : June 26, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 986 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 116 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,348 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Qualkinbush analyzes 1400 professionally published short story openings and came up with some interesting trends. First he discovered that 85% of story openings by professionals start with "situational" information or "telling" rather than a scene. He emphasizes how important it is for spec fiction writers to orient their readers to the type of story they are telling in the first paragraph, especially the identity of the POV character.
He also discusses the concept of abeyance--the face that spec fiction readers are willing to figure out, or learn later, unfamiliar concepts that are dropped into the text. The real challenge for writers is where and how to start, and the author suggests starting with the "heart" of the story, which he suggests is determined by the ending. He offers many detailed examples of his conclusions from the stories he surveyed and although this book is very specific and covers only how to organize and start a speculative fiction story, it is packed with useful data. If you've ever struggled between "Showing" and "Telling" for your opening, this is the book for you.
As the author clearly illustrates, speculative fiction has some real differences from fiction where we can easily assume a setting and other various features of the world. For this reason, the first few lines *must* help the readers figure out the basic things they need to know in order to get on with enjoying the story. This sounds simple (although I suspect in practice that it's a *lot* harder), but it's well illustrated with close to a hundred examples from spec fiction stories, explaining why and how they work.
As a warning, the book does absolutely *no* more than this. There's nothing on story structure or characterization. There's no conversation on writing style or quality. It's pretty much just about, "How to I write the first paragraph of a story so that someone might read farther?" (It's also fairly short - which I think is a good thing - much longer would have felt kind of drone-y.) But that's an important skill that I'd recommend to any writer, so would definitely recommend that those trying to write speculative fiction read this.
(Especially as it's fairly cheap.)
Hold on! That's not a story - that's a mess! Instead of intriguing your reader, all you've done is give them a migraine. You've committed a common spec fic writing sin: the Infodump!
Using this book packed with many examples of fine genre writing, Qualkenbush lucidly shows you how to mend your errant writing ways - and manages to entertain and intrigue at the same time.
I believe "How to Improve Your Speculative Fiction Openings" was a valuable addition to my collection of writing books. The opener is probably the most important part of the story. If the reader doesn't make it past the opening, they aren't going to make it to the end.
This book has got to be in my personal top five favorite books on writing. Qualkenbush did the work of analyzing a number of pro stories and then a number of amateur stories and found some compelling differences. He's produced a book that's worth studying - not only to understand the successful patterns he notes but also for quality of the writing samples.
Overall, a great resource that covers the grand concepts and the details. Again, it is short, though. A good value as a cheap e-book, perhaps a bit much at the print price.
Top reviews from other countries
Rather than simply opining about what *he* thinks you ought to do, Robert Qualkinbush offers a large selection of published story openings, mostly from well-known publications. These are analysed, and sometimes given as an alternative version to show what breaks if you change things. It is a fine way to present the subject