This intermediate/advanced guide to writing fiction emphasizes the revision process and uses craft discussions, exercises, and diverse examples to show the artistic implications of writing choices. Numerous examples, questions, and exercises throughout the book help students reflect upon and explore writing possibilities. The mini-anthology includes a variety of highly teachable, illustrative, and diverse stories–North American and international, contemporary and classic, realistic and experimental.
"The authors are both sophisticated and clear-sighted, and their instruction is clearly that of writers to other writers. Even published authors might find this book valuable. I recommend it strongly."
-- Charles Baxter, author of Burning Down the House
"This is the most literate, practical and inspired guide of its kind, as urgently useful to the developing writer as a dictionary or a muse. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how fiction is made."
-- Carolyn Cooke, author of The Bostons
"This is on my very very short list of books that offer the serious writer an intelligent and perceptive discussion about the tools of our craft; the emphasis on revision in every chapter is evidence that Nyren and Stone know what's essential as we write our way toward stories that matter."
-- Laurie Lynn Drummond, author of Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
"This is not simply a book about the craft of fiction. Stone and Nyren have given us a poignant book --thoroughly researched, thoughtfully organized, and beautifully written --that engages the serious writer in the craft of making art. I turn to it for practice and for inspiration."
-- Ann Cummins, author of Yellowcake
"A thorough and thought-provoking examination of issues of interest to the intermediate to advanced level fiction writer. Has many excellent illustrative examples from a broad range of styles and authors, and is a useful text for the classroom, with an included mini-anthology, suggested questions for discussion, and many illustrative and practical exercises. Good for personal use (as a writer) as well as for…stimulating interesting pedagogical approaches in the classroom."
-- Cheryl Sloan, University of Washington
"The things I like most about this book [are] the accessibility of its writing and the excellent understanding these writers have of what writers struggle with…The writers are obviously working writers who know how to teach and have paid careful attention to what their students need...there are lots of "partial" intermediate texts, meaning texts that are mostly anthology or mostly advice, but not full-bodied books such as this one with advice, anthology, exercises and reader-response questions….What I've seen of this book is dynamite…"
-- Tim Parrish, Southern Connecticut State University
"…[T]he book carefully shows the student that writing doesn't come out of nowhere, that all decisions a writer makes in a story are for very important reasons…[It] teaches the student the valuable lesson that the different aspects of a story–[such as] character, POV, narrative structure -- are interwoven and do not exist as separate entities."
-- Joseph Boyden, University of New Orleans
"I strongly commend the tone, which is generous, colloquial without being condescending, accessible (i.e. jargon-free), friendly, but firm and authoritative enough that students will believe the authors know what they are talking about when they advise them to take risks (a great strength in itself)… Here is the book we've been looking for…"
-- Susan Kenney, Colby College