Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition), by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Ned Stuckey-French


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Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition), by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Ned Stuckey-French

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition), by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Ned Stuckey-French

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition), by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Ned Stuckey-French

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Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition), by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Ned Stuckey-French

The most widely used and respected text in its field, Writing Fiction, Ninth Edition guides the novice story writer from first inspiration to final revision.

 

A bestseller through eight editions, Writing Fiction explores the elements of fiction, providing practical writing techniques and concrete examples. Written in a tone that is personal and non-prescriptive, the text encourages students to develop proficiency through each step of the writing process, offering an abundance of exercises designed to spur writing and creativity.  The text also integrates diverse, contemporary short stories in the belief that the reading of inspiring fiction goes hand-in-hand with the writing of fresh and exciting stories.

  • Sales Rank: #12696 in Books
  • Published on: 2014-02-02
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.90″ h x .80″ w x 5.90″ l, .0 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 400 pages

About the Author

JANET BURROWAY is the author of plays, poetry, essays, children’s books, and eight novels including The Buzzards, Raw Silk (runner up for the National Book Award), Opening Nights, Cutting Stone, and Bridge of Sand. Her other publications include a collection of personal essays, Embalming Mom, in addition to a volume of poetry, Material Goods, and three children’s books in verse, The Truck on the Track, The Giant Jam Sandwich, and The Perfect Pig. Her plays Medea with Child (The Reva Shiner Award), Sweepstakes, Division of Property (Arts & Letters Award), and Parts of Speech have received readings and productions in New York, London, San Francisco, Hollywood, Chicago, and various regional theaters. Her textbook Writing Fiction, now in its ninth edition, is the most widely used creative writing text in the United States. Her most recent books are a memoir, Losing Tim, and a collection of essays she has edited, A Story Larger Than My Own: Women Writers Look Back on Their Lives and Careers. She is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Florida State University in Tallahassee and has most recently taught in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Northwestern University.

 

ELIZABETH STUCKEY-FRENCH, Associate Professor, MFA Iowa Writers Workshop (1992), specializes in fiction. She was a James A. Michener Fellow at the University of Iowa and is the author of a short story collection, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa, and two novels, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady and Mermaids on the Moon. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Gettysburg Review,The Southern Review, Five Points, and other literary journals. In 2005, she received an O. Henry Award for the story “Mudlavia,” cited by juror Richard Russo as “favorite story.”

NED STUCKEY-FRENCH, Assistant Professor, B. A., magna cum laude, Harvard College (1972), M.A., Brown University (1992), Ph. D., University of Iowa (1997). Dr. Stuckey-French specializes in the personal essay and modern American literature and culture, especially magazine culture. His study of magazine culture and class construction entitled The American Essay in the American Century is forthcoming from the University of Missouri Press. He is also editing (with Carl Klaus) a collection of essays on the essay, which includes work from Montaigne to the present, and it will appear from the University of Iowa Press.
His reviews and critical work have appeared in journals such as American Literature, The CEA Critic, Modern Fiction Studies, Fourth Genre, culturefront, and The Iowa Review, and in The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, The Walt Whitman Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of the Essay.
He also writes creative nonfiction and is the book review editor for the journal Fourth Genre. His essays, which have appeared in magazines such as In These Times, The Missouri Review, The Pinch, and Walking Magazine, have been listed three times among the notable essays in the Best American Essays series. He is working on a memoir of his ten years as a trade union organizer in a Boston hospital.

Most helpful customer reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful.
The Standard TextBook for the Fiction-Writing Craft
By C J Singh
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Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, CA)
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As expected the ninth edition drops some of the stories in the eighth edition and adds stories by contemporary writers such as George Saunders, Stacy Richter, and Sandra Cisneros.

The chapter on Revision adds an early draft and the published version of Pia Z Ehrhardt’s short-short story “Following the Notes” as well as the annotated revisions that Janet Burroway made in the opening pages of her novel “Indian Dancer.” This section will be familiar to readers of Burroway’s book Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft (4th Edition) . See my review of the book on amazon.com.) Good decision to include her own work — only the author can authoritatively know her changing intentions in the re-drafting process.

Also new in this edition is the 10-page Appendix entitled “What Next? Professionalism and Literary Citizenship.” It presents suggestions on submitting your work to magazines; applying to graduate programs in creative writing; and building a literary community in the digital age. (Surprisingly there’s no mention of MeetUp.com as a platform for starting writing groups — for example, in the San Francisco Bay Area alone there are more than fifty meetups for writers including one I organized in Berkeley.)

For teaching yourself as member of a study group of at least 3 participants, I recommend beginning with Burroway’s “Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, ANY edition”; next Burroway’s “Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, SIXTH edition” (Why the sixth? Please see rest of this review.) ; followed by Sarah Stone and Ron Nyren’s “Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers.”
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Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, Eighth edition

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5 stars for The Classic College Textbook on the Fiction-Writing Craft: Eighth edition
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Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, CA)
.

In the eighth edition, more than half of the 22 stories are new, including works by contemporaries like Stuart Dybek, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Ron Hansen, Sherman Alexie, and Junot Diaz. A welcome return are short-shorts, one of the highlights of the sixth edition that were dropped in the seventh. Also, the new edition features a more detailed discussion of the revision process: it presents the early and final drafts of a short story, “Keith, by Ron Carlson, an established writer and professor of creative writing at UC Irvine.

In the preface to the eighth edition, Burroway notes that “the idea of a text for writing fiction is itself problematic. Unlike such subjects as math and history, where a certain mass of information needs to be organized and conveyed, the writing of fiction is more often a process of trial and error–the learning is perpetual and, paradoxically, the writer needs to know everything at once. If a text is too prescriptive, it’s not true to the immense variety of possibilities; if it’s too anecdotal, it may be cheering but is unlikely to be of use.” Excellent criterion, emerging from the author’s decades of writing and teaching experience. This edition, like the seventh and sixth, engages and isn’t too prescriptive.

Burroway clearly privileges literary fiction over genre fiction in this as well as in the previous four editions. (In her definition, genre fiction comprises detective story, science fiction, fantasy fiction, romance, adventure, spy, horror, and thriller.) “Writing literary fiction can teach you how to write good genre fiction, writing genre fiction does not teach you how to write good literary fiction–does not teach `how to write,’ by which I mean how to be original and meaningful in words.” Agreed, but why, then, is the book’s title not “Writing Literary Fiction”?

The seventh edition, like the sixth, includes more than twenty short stories, most of them by contemporary writers such as Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, and Charles Baxter that were also in the sixth edition. The seventh edition’s major shortcoming is the dropping of short-shorts. The SIXTH EDITION includes short-shorts by Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Tallent, Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Mary Robison, Lydia Davis, and Grace Paley among others. (Inspired by the short-shorts in the sixth edition, I wrote five short-shorts, all of which were published in ZYZZYVA literary magazine, Vol XXXIII.2). I found drafting short-shorts a fast-track to teaching myself the basics of the fiction-writing craft.)

Comparing the contents of this edition with the previous four editions, I see that Burroway has experimented with different chapter sequences. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions, plot discussion was placed in chapter 2; in the seventh and eighth editions, plot discussion is relegated to chapter 7. Very well, as the writer “needs to know everything at once” anyway, I can understand this experimentation. For self-teaching, I recommend the SIXTH edition as the best for its early placement of plot. ( Moreover, a used copy of the SIXTH edition is available for far less than the current edition.)

In the previous four editions a full chapter was devoted to theme, introduced in the very first chapter as follows: “The process of discovering, choosing, and revealing the theme of your story begins as early as a first freewrite and continues, probably, beyond publication. The theme is what your story is about and what you think about it, its core and the spin you put on it…. Because of this comprehensive nature of theme, I have placed the discussion of it in chapter 10, after each of the individual story elements have been addressed….But this is not entirely satisfactory, since each of those elements contribute to the theme as it unfolds. You may want to skip ahead to take a look at that chapter.” Agreed. The eighth edition, however, omits the 28-page chapter on theme and instead condenses the topic of theme to a mere 2 pages as part of the chapter on revision — a shortcoming.

For teaching yourself, I recommend beginning with Burroway’s “Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, Any Edition) ” next Burroway’s “Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, SIXTH Edition”; followed by Sarah Stone and Ron Nyren’s “Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers.”

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
Writing Fiction is expensive, but worth every penny. This is the textbook every aspiring novelist needs to read.
By Theresa H. Hernandez
This is a comprehensive book on craft that starts with the basics and works deeper with solid examples that drive the point home. With detailed chapters on the process of writing, showing vs. telling, and creating three-dimensional characters and settings, this may be the penultimate book for beginning writers. Even intermediate writers will find reminders about all the things we’re doing wrong that we knew were wrong, but forgot we were doing. Filled with vivid examples to illustrate every lesson, the book even has a few things for more seasoned writers.

New writers often have the hardest time grasping the concept of showing vs. telling, and this section in Writing Fiction is one of the best yet I’ve read, teaching the difference between the two with well-written examples perfectly re-written to ensure the lesson is learned. The section on characterization is exceptionally thorough, delving into great detail on what makes good characters and what makes great characters. All stories need good characters, but the best stories have great characters.

With about one-third examples and writing exercises and two-thirds instruction, I firmly believe this is the first book every aspiring fiction writer should pick up and study.

Bottom Line
Writing Fiction is expensive, but worth every penny. This is the textbook every aspiring novelist needs to read.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
It was great for a beginner that is interested in publishing poem …
By Anna
This book was a requirement for my creative writing class and was very helpful. I rented it but I plan on purchasing it. It was great for a beginner that is interested in publishing poem and stories.

See all 27 customer reviews…

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