With a focused approach, perfect to get beginning fiction writers inspired, Art and Craft of Fiction takes you from learning to writing with everything you need to craft compelling fiction.
Michael Kardos (michaelkardos.com) of Mississippi State University is a fiction author and instructor. He is the author of the story collection One Last Good Time (Press 53, 2011) and the forthcoming novel The Three-Day Affair (Grove/Atlantic 2012). His short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, and many other magazines and anthologies. His essays about fiction have appeared in The Writer's Chronicle and Writer's Digest. Kardos received his B.A. from Princeton University, his M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. He currently lives in Starkville, Mississippi, where he co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State and edits the literary journal Jabberwock Review. Kardos is author of the upcoming Bedford text, The Art and Craft of Fiction: A Writer's Guide and a contributor to Bedford's LitBits, where he blogs about teaching creative writing.
ART & CRAFT
1. Thinking, Reading, and Writing Like a Writer
Being a Writer Means Paying Attention Why a Textbook (And Why This Textbook?) Rules of the Road Reading Like a Writer Finding Ideas for Stories A Word to the Novelist What’s the Point of All This?
2. The Extreme Importance of Relevant Detail Details and Believability Details and Engaging the Reader Showing and Telling Fiction Writing as Telepathy Getting the Details Right (a.k.a. Researching Your Story) Which Details to Include? Nothing More Than Feelings Details and the Writer’s Sensibility
3. Starting Your Story What Beginnings Do Reveal Key Information Establish the Story’s Stakes Start with a Break from Routine Consider Starting In Medias Res Whose Perspective Should You Choose? Other Information to Convey Sooner Rather Than Later Ultimately, It’s Your Call
4. Working with the Elements of Fiction Character Plot Causality Setting Point of View (POV) Voice Theme
5. Creating Scenes: A Nuts & Bolts Approach Dialogue Narration Description Exposition Interiority Scene-Writing, Final Notes
6. Organizing Your Story: Form & Structure Classic Story Structure and the Freytag Pyramid Conflict Climax Conclusion: What Has Changed? Form = Meaning Other Ways to Tell a Story Scene and Summary Case Study: Structural Imitation
7. Writing a Compelling Story High Stakes Character Desire Active Protagonists The Atypical Day (A Break from Routine) External Conflict Internal Conflict / Presenting Characters’ Interior Lives Compressed Time Period Suspense (As Opposed to Withheld Information) Originality
8. Ending Your Story The Challenge Strategies for Ending Your Story Common Pitfalls Getting the Words Right Two Final Thoughts on Endings
9. The Power of Clarity Vagueness verses Ambiguity Clear Words Clear Sentences Clear Stories: A Few Words of Advice Clarity: Some Final Thoughts
10. Revising Your Story The Case for Revision What Is "Revision," Anyway? What Is a "First Draft"? Twelve Strategies for Revision How Do You Know When Your Story Is (Really, Truly) Done?
11. The Mechanics of Fiction: A Writer's Boot Camp Formatting and Punctuating Dialogue Addressing a Person in Dialogue Paragraph Breaks in Dialogue Double Quotation Marks / Single Quotation Marks Quick Quiz: Repair This Sentence Scare Quotes Formatting and Punctuating a Character’s Thoughts Comma Splices "Who" and "That" Exclamation Marks, Question Marks, All-Caps Conjugation of "Lie" and "Lay" Quick Quiz: Choose the Correct Sentence Sentences That Begin with an "-ing" Word Some Final Advice The Mechanics of Fiction: Practice Test
12. A Mini-Anthology: 15 Stories 1. Sherman Alexie, This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona 2. Richard Bausch, Tandolfo the Great 3. Kevin Brockmeier, A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets 4. Percival Everett, The Appropriation of Cultures 5. Becky Hagenston, Midnight, Licorice, Shadow 6. Etgar Keret, What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish? 7. Jhumpa Lahiri, This Blessed House 8. Jill McCorkle, Magic Words 9. Kevin Moffett, One Dog Year 10. Tim O’Brien, On the Rainy River 11. ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere 12. Susan Perabo, Indulgence 13. Karen Russell, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves 14. John Updike, A&P 15. Tobias Wolff, Bullet in the Brain
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