by Julie CheckowayCreating Fiction edited by Julie Checkoway
This isn’t a blog-worthy review, since it’s just my own personal notes on things to read or look into.This was, though, one of the best pedagogical books I’ve read on fiction-writing, and I’d definitely recommend it for anyone genuinely interested in, well, creating fiction.
The essays are written (on everything from plot to revision, from character to style) by all of these great writers you’ve probably heard of, and they often quote other great writers—so there’s a wealth of insight from writers on writing.Plus, they include exercises at the end of their essays, and they’re good ones.I’ve never used this book in the classroom, but I hope to do so.
Here’s my own reading list derived from reading this book:
John Gregory Brown:DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETARY (his essay was especially insightful about writing fiction which incorporates autobiographical emotional truths)
Truman Capote:“My Side of the Matter” (beginning “in medias res”)
Raymond Carver:“The Train”(read it with Cheever story, as it picks up where he left off)
John Cheever:“The Enormous Radio” (magical realism)
John Cheever: “The Five-Forty-Eight” (read with Carver; consider unsympathetic characters)
J.M. Coetzee: THE MASTER OF PETERSURG (uses third-person unified pov with the voice of Dostoyevsky)
Stuart Dybek:“Paper Lantern” (uses a frame story)
Alice Hoffman:PRACTICAL MAGIC (magical realism)
Shirley Jackson:“The Lottery” (I guess I should already)
Randall Kenan:“This Far” (written in the second person)
Steven Millhauser:MARTIN DRESSLER (magical realism)
Alice Munro:“Friend of My Youth” (uses a frame story, flashback)
Alice Munro:“Prue” (about a surprising character)
Tim O’Brien’s “The Magic Show” (his nonfiction essay on fiction-writing)
Mary Ann Taylor-Hall:COME AND GO, MOLLY SNOW (has a strong narrative voice)
Some other thoughts:
• John Gregory Brown’s essay seemed especially relevant to me—as he wrote about how he incorporated certain autobiographical truths into his fiction.
• Philip Gerard wrote a great essay on structuring the novel and story collection.I found this one and the others on structure and plot helpful.I feel like my own study of these things has been slightly negligent.
• Alberto Ríos wrote about the importance of punctuation and style manuals. He affirmed my punctuation protests, though I do selectively use some British spellings.
• Stephen Dixon’s essay on submitting work did strike me as slightly outdated.It was interesting nonetheless, but his success and the tactics he advocated seem unlikely to work for the likes of me.
|eBook format||Paperback, (torrent)|
|Publisher||Writer's Digest Books|
|File size||7 Mb|
|Book rating||4.64 (131 votes)