- Paperback: 677 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (January 11, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393337081
- ISBN-13: 978-0393337082
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 85 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing Reprint Edition
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A writer and seasoned creative-writing teacher, LaPlante has assembled a treasury of materials to back up her literary expertise. In her discussion of metaphor, for example, LaPlante quotes Byron, Denis Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, Shakespeare, and William Gass. In her extrapolation of the old adage, "write about what you know," she presents a poem by Sharon Olds, a page from the journals of Leonard Michaels, and Eudora Welty's indelible advice: "Write about what you don't know about what you know." Comprehensive in its coverage of inspiration, craft, aesthetics, veracity, and purpose, this one-stop guide to writing is casual in tone and rigorous in content, elucidating the nature of fiction and nonfiction and clarifying the qualities unique to each and common to both. Each chapter contains an explication of such subjects as point of view, creating characters, and narrative structure; writing exercises, and an illustrative story by the likes of Tim O'Brien, ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, John Cheever, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Expansive, clear, and sophisticated, LaPlante's richly resourced guide is destined to become a standard. Seaman, Donna --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“This big, comprehensive book is almost a complete writing course.”
- Book Passage
“Comprehensive in its coverage of inspiration, craft, aesthetics, veracity, and purpose, this one-stop guide to writing is casual in tone and rigorous in content, elucidating the nature of diction and nonfiction and clarifying the qualities unique to each and common to both. Each chapter contains an explication of such subjects as point of view, characters, and narrative structure; writing exercises; and an illustrative story by the likes of Tim O’Brien, ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, John Cheever, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Expansive, clear, and sophisticated, LaPlante’s richly resourced guide is destined to become a standard.”
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Chapter 1: The Basics
Chapter 2: Writing as Discovery
Chapter 3: Concrete Details as the Basic Building Blocks of Good Creative Writing
Chapter 4: Defining the Short Story
Chapter 5: The Importance of Narration
Chapter 6: Introduction to Point of View
Chapter 7: How Understanding Point of View Affects Our Understanding of a Story
Chapter 8: Crafting Effective Dialogue
Chapter 9: Figuring Out What Happens Next
Chapter 10: Creating Surprising Yet Convincing Characters
Chapter 11: Beginning Your Story, Novel, or Nonfiction Piece
Chapter 12: The Art of Transferring True Emotions into Sensory Events
Chapter 13: On Revision
Chapter 14: Some Final Thoughts on Creative Nonfiction
Each chapter is divided into three sections: The first is focused on some specific element of writing (see list above). The second section focuses on writing exercises. The third, titled, "Reading as a Writer" provides short stories for the writer to consider. In this volume, the short stories include: "On Keeping a Notebook" by Joan Didion; "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien; "Brownies" by ZZ Packer; "The Lady with the Little Dog" by Anton Chekhov; and "The Swimmer" by John Cheever among them.
While LaPlante's book is not the only book out there on creative writing, this book is helpful for a beginner or someone in search of a reference guide to review parts of what makes a good story. The exercises are helpful and the short stories are varied and sensitively chosen. While the stories will not appeal to all persons, LaPlante selects provocative stories with difficult themes and encourages good reading to bring about careful and considered writing.