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So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir

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“This is a great book, no matter what stage of writing you’re at!”—The Writer Magazine “Here is a must-have for would-be writers. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White.”—Booklist “Addresses all the elements of successful writing.”—Tampa Tribune “Advice on getting your work published is worth the cost of the book alone.”—St. Petersburg Times A featured selection o “This is a great book, no matter what stage of writing you’re at!”—The Writer Magazine “Here is a must-have for would-be writers. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White.”—Booklist “Addresses all the elements of successful writing.”—Tampa Tribune “Advice on getting your work published is worth the cost of the book alone.”—St. Petersburg Times A featured selection of the Writer’s Digest Book Club; chosen by The Writer Magazine as a Best Book of the Year; compared by the American Library Association to Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style; acclaimed by critics, students and teachers and adopted by universities across the country, the unique collaboration between a major American novelist and a publisher is back in a revised second edition, bigger and better than ever. The most useful and entertaining writing book on the market, the updated second edition has new exercises and expanded essays, covering every aspect of writing and publishing fiction and memoir: How to begin a piece so that a reader can’t put it down How to create compelling characters How professional writers use dialogue How to narrow a strategy for telling the story of your life How to write about painful material without coming off as a victim Included are hundreds of insider tips, such as: The seven important things when writing about loved ones The 10 most destructive things writers do What no one will tell you about rejection letters FAQs about agents and how much writers really earn What to do if your work is continually rejected Marge Piercy is a New York Times best-selling novelist and memoirist. Ira Wood is a novelist and publisher. Their workshops, given nationally, address overcoming the inner and outer barriers to creativity.


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“This is a great book, no matter what stage of writing you’re at!”—The Writer Magazine “Here is a must-have for would-be writers. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White.”—Booklist “Addresses all the elements of successful writing.”—Tampa Tribune “Advice on getting your work published is worth the cost of the book alone.”—St. Petersburg Times A featured selection o “This is a great book, no matter what stage of writing you’re at!”—The Writer Magazine “Here is a must-have for would-be writers. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White.”—Booklist “Addresses all the elements of successful writing.”—Tampa Tribune “Advice on getting your work published is worth the cost of the book alone.”—St. Petersburg Times A featured selection of the Writer’s Digest Book Club; chosen by The Writer Magazine as a Best Book of the Year; compared by the American Library Association to Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style; acclaimed by critics, students and teachers and adopted by universities across the country, the unique collaboration between a major American novelist and a publisher is back in a revised second edition, bigger and better than ever. The most useful and entertaining writing book on the market, the updated second edition has new exercises and expanded essays, covering every aspect of writing and publishing fiction and memoir: How to begin a piece so that a reader can’t put it down How to create compelling characters How professional writers use dialogue How to narrow a strategy for telling the story of your life How to write about painful material without coming off as a victim Included are hundreds of insider tips, such as: The seven important things when writing about loved ones The 10 most destructive things writers do What no one will tell you about rejection letters FAQs about agents and how much writers really earn What to do if your work is continually rejected Marge Piercy is a New York Times best-selling novelist and memoirist. Ira Wood is a novelist and publisher. Their workshops, given nationally, address overcoming the inner and outer barriers to creativity.

30 review for So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Aerin

    Marge Piercy is a novelist/poet and Ira Wood is a publisher. This collaboration is like a workshop-in-a-book rather than a collection of, for example, writing prompts. I can imagine So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction as a text in a college writing class. It's too detailed for a novice to simply pick up and begin writing, but it would be a good resource to study in a group setting, with a month or so of coached reading and writing. I also like that it's more or less c Marge Piercy is a novelist/poet and Ira Wood is a publisher. This collaboration is like a workshop-in-a-book rather than a collection of, for example, writing prompts. I can imagine So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction as a text in a college writing class. It's too detailed for a novice to simply pick up and begin writing, but it would be a good resource to study in a group setting, with a month or so of coached reading and writing. I also like that it's more or less current. The first edition was printed in 2001; the second edition in 2005. With information about rejection letters, FAQs about agents and publishers, and what to expect when you get famous, as well as lessons in creating seductive beginnings, writing a memoir without sounding like a victim, and finding narrative strategies, this is a dense volume you might want to add to your library. This would be a good book to add to a collection of writing books, but I doubt it would be the only writing book you'll ever need. Get it from the library before you buy it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I got so far into this book before I realized it was a book I needed to own so I could mark it up at my discretion. I learned so much just in what I've read so far, and am excited to receive a copy for Christmas (no surprise there... :P) so that I can start over and REALLY get into this book. Plus, I tried just one of the proposed exercises so far, and it was extremely enlightening and has spurned a huge leap in writing where I had previously been struggling with writers' block on a project. I got so far into this book before I realized it was a book I needed to own so I could mark it up at my discretion. I learned so much just in what I've read so far, and am excited to receive a copy for Christmas (no surprise there... :P) so that I can start over and REALLY get into this book. Plus, I tried just one of the proposed exercises so far, and it was extremely enlightening and has spurned a huge leap in writing where I had previously been struggling with writers' block on a project.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather Richard

    Some good exercises for my student writers and all writers. Not the most exciting book on writing, but a solid one, especially for reflective/memoir writing

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    One of the best books on writing that I've read (and I dislike most of them.) Lots of practical, nuts-and-bolts advice, and on the whole it strikes the right balance between firmness and compassion. One of the best books on writing that I've read (and I dislike most of them.) Lots of practical, nuts-and-bolts advice, and on the whole it strikes the right balance between firmness and compassion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gilfillan

    Enjoyable reading, some new tips, some good to remember advice.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashok Shenolikar

    Good advise for aspiring writers

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karla Winick-Ford

    I liked this, and appreciated their contributions to support emerging writers. The exercises were straight-forward and applicable. It was easy to read and comprehend. The authors propose variations, and often state that examples won't work in every situation, but that in some they will. They're addressing things globally, and without a novel frame-worked and outlined,it was hard to further develop my ideas and continue reading, so I simply noted some thoughts as I went along. The exercise on cre I liked this, and appreciated their contributions to support emerging writers. The exercises were straight-forward and applicable. It was easy to read and comprehend. The authors propose variations, and often state that examples won't work in every situation, but that in some they will. They're addressing things globally, and without a novel frame-worked and outlined,it was hard to further develop my ideas and continue reading, so I simply noted some thoughts as I went along. The exercise on creating characters was helpful, but most helpful was the section on usage of dialog. I recommend reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    The first book I picked up and read as I switch over from mom blogger to fiction author. Certain aspects of this book have provided the direction needed to get my first project off the ground. (!!!) However some of the information about online publishing is woefully out of date, at least in my early 2000s printing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    megHan

    This was a really good book and I learned a lot from it. They treated it as if they were teaching you a class with examples so you could fully understand what they were telling you plus included some exercises and a reading list. I took so many notes, full of so much important information.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joy Bennett

    Extremely helpful, highly recommended for writers of all levels.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Philana Walker

    Not as engaging as some of the other books I have read, but there was some information I was able to use.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Ok. I think it has some good ideas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Extremely helpful for someone who hasn't taken an English class in 30 years. Extremely helpful for someone who hasn't taken an English class in 30 years.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    No I am not planning to start writing. But I happened to pick this book up after it turned up during some house cleaning, and i was inspired to keep reading. So far it is more about expressing yourself, in any medium, not just writing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wilani Wahl

    A helpful book on writing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Melosh

    Helpful discussion, more on fiction than memoir. Advice on publishing is dated.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sue Corbett

    Not impressive but mostly good advice, overstating the obvious gets to me a bit but feel this is better as a guide fir a writing group rather than an individual

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angelina

    i thought it was very helpful.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margret

    I grab this book from the library and I have learned a lot from it. I have to buy this one for reference in the future. A must have for sure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Good exercises and prompts.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Tirrel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brandivincent

  25. 5 out of 5

    Terri

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason Clark

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clancy

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen Kanke

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