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The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft

Praise for The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft
stuffoffiction

“A book for anyone who wants to better understand how the masters do what they do.
Even if you’ve never inked a letter of literary fiction, if you love such works of
art, then you’ll find this book– forgive me – good stuff.”
– Writer’s Carousel

“Looking for something to jump-start your writing? Or how about some practical
lessons in “the stuff offiction” or “advice on craft”? Douglas Bauer has it all
covered in The Stuff of Fiction.
Robert Allen Papinchak in The Writer

Excerpts from The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft

Introduction: “I believe that if we begin to think of the activity [of writing] itself to be
something all-mysterious and dependent on the whimsy of the muse, then we’re apt to
be cowed and defeated before we begin . . .

Conclusion: “What is mystical about writing is the awarding of the talent – how much
we are given, how little, if any. The possession of the gift itself is a spiritual transaction.
While the rest of it, the daily business of craft, is bracingly pedestrian. It is with that
luminous dailiness in mind that this book was written.”

 

Table of Contents

Openings: Ways of Starting a Story
Exercise: And So We Begin

Sentences: Doing the Dusty Work
Exercise: How Sentences Work

Dialogue: The Reader as Eavesdropper
Exercise: Think of Your Ears as Magnets

Putting It in Context: Foreground Needs Background
Exercise: But Why Did the Queen Die?

Implicit Narrative: Achieving Subtlety while Avoiding Confusion
Exercise: Presence and Absence

Characters: Flawed Heroes and Sympathetic Villains
Exercise: Making Heroes Flawed

High Events: The Treatment of Dramatic Moments
Exercise: The Richness of Resonance

Sentiment versus Sentimentality: The First, Always; the Second, Never
Exercise: No Cheating Allowed

Closings: Ways of Ending the Story
Exercise: Finally

 

Sample chapter from The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft Characters:
Flawed Heroes and Sympathetic Villains
(.pdf)
Exercise: Making Heroes Flawed (.jpg)

 

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