✓ Read µ Method and Madness: The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante ë I read about writing in order to become a better reader This guide is among the best.
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller Wonderfully Lucid And Illuminating, Alice LaPlante S Guide To Writing Fiction Recalls Francine Prose S Bestseller, Reading Like A Writer Library Journal The Making Of A Story Is A Fresh And Inspiring Guide To The Basics Of Creative Writing Both Fiction And Creative Nonfiction The Book Is Perfect For Writers Working Alone As Well As For Creative Writing Classes, Both Introductory And Advanced This is a nice writing referential guide all in one place addresses many aspects in the realm of creative fiction as well as creative non fiction, with a plethora of examples and citations Much of the material I already knew, but it was interesting to gain insight on the usual story components It does show its age a bit in certain terms, but I actually did like this guide and it was pretty chunky reading reviewing this via my commutes to work.
Overall score 3.
5 5 This book is not only well written one would hope so but fun to read It s not only a great textbook for beginning writers, but a resource and refresher for not so beginning writers, and I think the exercises on how to explode open your pieces will be very useful Each chapter ends with wonderful short stories and creative nonfiction pieces to illustrate each chapter s lesson, and they were all a pleasure to read even the ones I d read before, though finding new to me writings by John Cheever, Akhil Sharma and Maxine Hong Kingston just to name a few was especially exciting.
The only discouraging thing is that when I see minute typos and proofreading misses which are ever so minor that I almost hate mentioning them , I always feel I am on the wrong path, that I should work as a copy editor instead of trying to write I read about writing in order to become a better reader This guide is among the best.
I bought this book because I was trying to write my own, but I had come face to face with a particular realization I did not know what I was doing I was not capable of producing the kind of writing I desperately wanted to produce, the kind of writing I wanted to read Now in all humility, there may very well be readers who throw my book down in disgust and say he still doesn t know how but at least I got the manuscript out and in to the hands of readers And a lack of talent shining from my page does not mean that the resource was lacking in any way I found a way to study what I was doing and to critique myself, using this book It helped me through the editing process, and also made me into a better reader of narrative than I ever was before.
I bought this book because I was trying to write my own, but I had come face to face with a particular realization I did not know what I was doing I was not capable of producing the kind of writing I desperately wanted to produce, the kind of writing I wanted to read Now in all humility, there may very well be readers who throw my book down in disgust and say he still doesn t know how but at least I got the manuscript out and in to the hands of readers And a lack of talent shining from my page does not mean that the resource was lacking in any way I found a way to study what I was doing and to critique myself, using this book It helped me through the editing process, and also made me into a better reader of narrative than I ever was before.
The one book I recommend to people about writing than anything Covering both fiction and narrative nonfiction, the book deals with a topic per chapter, from plot to dialogue to character Just like every other writing book But this book does a couple of things better than any other book I ve seen it has a less stringent focus on exercises, and it includes full texts I don t like writing books that want to kick me out and send me off to do something and come back to it later I want a book to let me consume it, sit with it for a while, and then do exercises if I want to Frankly, I m kind of down on exercises as it is, since I don t like being told what to write when it comes to fiction.
Also, a big problem with writing books is the way they tell you how writer X does something right, then presents a passage from the story in question, pulled out of context from the rest of the story Which does the job, but wouldn t it be better to have the full story in front of you If you re telling me what an amazing job Flannery O Connor does characterizing the Grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find , is it better to give me a snapshot, or the whole story I understand this is likely a copyright issue, excerpts under a certain length being exempt from royalty payments But TMOAS opens the purse, and pays for the reprint rights So if LaPlante is discussing how Cheever sprinkles details throughout The Swimmer , you ll be able to see for yourself and read the story at the end of the chapter, with a trio of review questions to help you crystallize in your mind what the story excels at Simply the best book you can get on the technical aspects.
I have a whole bookshelf dedicated to craft books on poetry and prose fiction writing The last thing I need is another one But I came across this obscure book at the library and I was just amazed by it Its a big fat book, as Norton books tend to be But its packed with genuine information, not just pep talks This is not a popular book, but its a very highly regarded book I think this must have originally been intended for college writing courses, but its filled with exercises and you can use it without a teacher It breaks down each stage of the process, from acquiring and recognising a viable idea down to the finished project It doesn t focus on the business end of writing so much as on the creative end I checked this book out so many times I finally decided If you love her, put a ring on her and went out and bought it I d say a wanna be could buy this one book and have 98% of everything he or she will ever need to know about the writing of good fiction.
The best fiction writing text I ve ever read LaPlante gives equal treatment to craft method and heart madness , and encourages young writers to learn the rules so that they can be broken Unlike other craft texts, the tone is lively, sassy, and playful, rather than dry, dull, and condescending Two of my favorite lines from the book are The only rule for fiction is that it be interesting Creative writing is the one area where you don t want to be appropriate Appropriate is for dinner parties Yes.
Finally, because LaPlante approaches common topics from such fresh angles, instructors also benefit a great deal from this book I m a better teacher for having read this book something that can t be said for a lot of craft texts that don t offer anything we haven t already read or heard a billion times.
Finally reading this after having owned it for years.
I teach Creative Writing and Fiction and I have always relied on Janet Burroway s books as well as some of Charles Baxter s, but this semester I decided to give it a try to Alice LaPlante textbook and what an amazing adventure this has been for me and my students It is so down to eath, deep, practical Any fiction writer professor would appreciate LaPlante s fuel to writing.
I adopted this as a text for a creative writing class, because I appreciated the focus on craft, the exercises, and the stories included to illustrate the concepts from Hemingway s Hills like White Elephants to Chekhov s Lady with a Pet Dog to ZZ Packer s Brownies to Tim O Brien s The Things They Carried to Frederick Busch s Ralph the Duck It s engaging and practical, an excellent text for an intro to creative writing or intro to fiction class If I didn t give this five stars, it s because the nonfiction sections it s marketed as both a fiction and nonfiction writing guide feel extraneous it s really a fiction text that wants to encompass fiction and nonfiction, though the latter gets a bit of a short shrift This has been corrected with the paperback edition, Method and Madness, which focuses solely on fiction, adds short stories, but unfortunately is expensive.
This is a nice writing referential guide all in one place addresses many aspects in the realm of creative fiction as well as creative non fiction, with a plethora of examples and citations Much of the material I already knew, but it was interesting to gain insight on the usual story components It does show its age a bit in certain terms, but I actually did like this guide and it was pretty chunky reading reviewing this via my commutes to work.
Overall score 3.
5 5