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
Point of View (POV)
5. Creating Scenes: A Nuts & Bolts Approach
Scene-Writing, Final Notes
6. Organizing Your Story: Form & Structure
Classic Story Structure and the Freytag Pyramid
Conclusion: What Has Changed?
Form = Meaning
Other Ways to Tell a Story
Scene and Summary
Case Study: Structural Imitation
7. Writing a Compelling Story
The Atypical Day (A Break from Routine)
Internal Conflict / Presenting Characters’ Interior Lives
Compressed Time Period
Suspense (As Opposed to Withheld Information)
8. Ending Your Story
Strategies for Ending Your Story
Getting the Words Right
Two Final Thoughts on Endings
9. The Power of Clarity
Vagueness verses Ambiguity
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
Formatting and Punctuating a Character’s Thoughts
"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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