hits counter The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Writing Fiction and Nonfiction - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Writing Fiction and Nonfiction

Availability: Ready to download

The Making of a Story is a fresh and inspiring guide to the basics of creative writing—both fiction and creative nonfiction. Its hands-on, completely accessible approach walks writers through each stage of the creative process, from the initial triggering idea to the revision of the final manuscript. It is unique in combing the three main aspects of creative writing instru The Making of a Story is a fresh and inspiring guide to the basics of creative writing—both fiction and creative nonfiction. Its hands-on, completely accessible approach walks writers through each stage of the creative process, from the initial triggering idea to the revision of the final manuscript. It is unique in combing the three main aspects of creative writing instruction: process (finding inspiration, getting ideas on the page), craft (specific techniques like characterization), and anthology (learning by reading masters of the form). Succinct, clear definitions of basic terms of fiction are accompanied by examples, including excerpts from masterpieces of short fiction and essays as well as contemporary novels. A special highlight is Alice LaPlante's systematic debunking of many of the so-called rules of creative writing. This book is perfect for writers working alone as well as for creative writing classes, both introductory and advanced.


Compare

The Making of a Story is a fresh and inspiring guide to the basics of creative writing—both fiction and creative nonfiction. Its hands-on, completely accessible approach walks writers through each stage of the creative process, from the initial triggering idea to the revision of the final manuscript. It is unique in combing the three main aspects of creative writing instru The Making of a Story is a fresh and inspiring guide to the basics of creative writing—both fiction and creative nonfiction. Its hands-on, completely accessible approach walks writers through each stage of the creative process, from the initial triggering idea to the revision of the final manuscript. It is unique in combing the three main aspects of creative writing instruction: process (finding inspiration, getting ideas on the page), craft (specific techniques like characterization), and anthology (learning by reading masters of the form). Succinct, clear definitions of basic terms of fiction are accompanied by examples, including excerpts from masterpieces of short fiction and essays as well as contemporary novels. A special highlight is Alice LaPlante's systematic debunking of many of the so-called rules of creative writing. This book is perfect for writers working alone as well as for creative writing classes, both introductory and advanced.

30 review for The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Writing Fiction and Nonfiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    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 C 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!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    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 m 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I read about writing in order to become a better reader. This guide is among the best.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Ferguson

    The one book I recommend to people [about writing] more 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 The one book I recommend to people [about writing] more 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Garcia

    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 us 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charles Michael Fischer

    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 p 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).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsi

                I actually had an epiphany while reading this book. This neon-green book is large, inviting, and unintimidating, loaded with incredible examples, exercises, and advice that will forever impact my writing and approach. Oftentimes I have struggled with “what to write about”- that looming, dark, confidence-shrinking question. However, after reading LaPlante’s advice, I have completely moved past this question because of a few simple life-changing paragraphs in this book:             "In             I actually had an epiphany while reading this book. This neon-green book is large, inviting, and unintimidating, loaded with incredible examples, exercises, and advice that will forever impact my writing and approach. Oftentimes I have struggled with “what to write about”- that looming, dark, confidence-shrinking question. However, after reading LaPlante’s advice, I have completely moved past this question because of a few simple life-changing paragraphs in this book:             "In an essay titled ‘How to Discover What You Have to Say: A Talk to Students,’ Skinner asserts that writing is a much more complex act than simply transcribing existing thoughts into words as accurately as possible. If this were the case, the writer would be doing little more than serving as a “reporter” of past thoughts and experiences already processed by the brain. Instead, Skinner argues that the physical act of writing is the cause, not the effect, of new and original thought, and that any creative work that is not a journey of discovery for the writer will, in turn, bore readers. ‘It’s like driving a car at night,’ said novelist Robert Stone about how he copes with this uncertainty when writing longer pieces, ‘you can only see as far ahead as your headlights, but you can make the entire journey that way.’             Beginning writers find it difficult and painful to tolerate this state of not-knowing. Yet accepting it, embracing it even, represents an important step in a writer’s creative development. Good creative writing is almost always conceived in doubt, and is fueled by an urgent desire to understand something that eludes understanding. Thus the best writing is less about dispelling than acquiring wisdom, less about explaining the point of a given experience to others than about exploring and learning about it oneself’”… So what does one do with this information, that not-knowing and paying attention to personal mysteries leads to good creative writing? First, one learns how to recognize mystery. Learn to understand when you don’t understand. Take note of it— if possible, literally, by carrying a notebook with you” [emphasis mine] (pg.67-68).             I realized I have often approached writing as “reporting,” hence I am The Reporter relaying facts. However, after reading this book I realized the beauty in pursuing writing as The Discoverer. Hence, discovering what you remember, who you were at the time, the meaning behind an interaction, how you really feel about an interaction, and discovering the implications of that interaction- discovering what it all means. This has completely opened a new door in my mind in writing. And this is just one of the epiphanies I had while I was reading this book.             The Making of a Story is over six-hundred pages and includes fourteen chapters with two exercises per chapter, and one to two reading examples per chapter. I won’t go into every single detail because this book is, put simply, an incredible writing course in a book— at the low low cost of $21.95. It contains advice on showing vs telling, character development, plot, dialogue, revision, and fiction vs nonfiction requirements. There are essays and short stories written by Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim O-Bren, John Cheever, James Baldwin, Anne Lammott, Lorrie Moore, Raymond Carver, and many other excellent writers.             LaPlante covers many more bases and has much more to offer than simply great tips. Backing her advice with exercises and reading excerpts, with essays and examples, the writing reader is truly challenged in their craft. I know I was. In addition, the writing exercises were intriguing, and I completed most of them.             And LaPlante is an excellent teacher. Stunning, actually. This book is worth your money and may, if you take her advice, make you money in the long run.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aleksandr Voinov

    Finally reading this after having owned it for years.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen Germain

    I just finished with my Spring Quarter writing classes and Alice LaPlante's Method and Madness, was the primary text for one of my classes. I don't normally review text books, but as I thought this was so phenomenal, I wanted to share my thoughts. Although LaPlante's Method and Madness, covers all of the basics of creating a story, it's not necessarily a beginners manual. I've been taking writing classes for years and I still found plenty in LaPlante's book that stimulated my creativity and made I just finished with my Spring Quarter writing classes and Alice LaPlante's Method and Madness, was the primary text for one of my classes. I don't normally review text books, but as I thought this was so phenomenal, I wanted to share my thoughts. Although LaPlante's Method and Madness, covers all of the basics of creating a story, it's not necessarily a beginners manual. I've been taking writing classes for years and I still found plenty in LaPlante's book that stimulated my creativity and made me grow as a writer. In fact, the last few months have been the most productive that I've ever had and between my writing workshops and using LaPlante's book, I've taken my writing to the next level. I'm ready to send stories out to publishers. It's exciting. What makes LaPlante's book such a great resource? Primary, I think it's the clarity in which she explains the mechanics of story writing, coupled with her choices of examples. Her input made me reassess and fine-tune my writing. I started to write from the idea of creating a synergy between writer/characters/reader, rather than having my stories exist in a vacuum. I realize as I'm writing this review, I sound like some sort of writing snob. I'm not and maybe my Fiction won't get published, however I know that there was personal improvement with use of LaPlante's book and I want to pass that on! LaPlante divides her chapters into three sections. The first is the lecture component, which is filled with small examples. She follows with writing exercises, some of which I tried during the last few months, but many I didn't have time to do while taking classes. LaPlante's exercises are going to be a resource that I can pull on as needed. Each chapter finished with a couple of published short-stories to support the lecture. I'd like to make a suggestion with the short stories, read them aloud. With the shorts in LaPlante, plus others that came with my classes, I've probably read about fifty short stories in the last quarter. Reading them aloud can be a pain, but it allowed me to get the cadence and pacing of the story. Also, I'm a very fast reader and I tend to skim, reading aloud forced me to slow down and really absorb every word and more deeply understand the mechanics. Some of the stories in LaPlante are tried and true classics, like Hemmingway's Hills Like White Elephants, but LaPlante also picked more modern pieces, many of whom I had not encountered previously. It's a great mix. I feel like reading such a variety of shorts may be the biggest contributing factor to my personal growth as a writer. One of the most useful examples that LaPlante uses is in her chapter Learning to Fail Better. In this chapter, she uses two different published versions of the same Raymond Carver story to show growth in revisions. If you read nothing else in this book, make sure to read this chapter. The Carver stories are such a keen example of how a story can grown between drafts and also illustrates my favorite aspect of writing, discovering possibilities in your story. The two stories are the same, but with a few shifts and added scenes, the entire meaning is changed. I was blown away. READ IT! Method and Madness is a comprehensive manual for both the beginning and experienced fiction writer. I'm positive that it will be an invaluable resource for me for many years to come. Like my review? Check out my blog!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Karchmer

    This book was recommended while I was attending the Writer on the Sound writer's conference in Edmonds, WA in 2010. I had signed up for the three-day event because there were small sessions for writing critique, and more importantly, Natalie Goldberg was keynote speaker. While that's ancillary information (as she was not the one who recommended the book), it set the stage for this "journalist" turned "writer" to purchase the 677-page paperback copy in a local bookstore to get on the literary pat This book was recommended while I was attending the Writer on the Sound writer's conference in Edmonds, WA in 2010. I had signed up for the three-day event because there were small sessions for writing critique, and more importantly, Natalie Goldberg was keynote speaker. While that's ancillary information (as she was not the one who recommended the book), it set the stage for this "journalist" turned "writer" to purchase the 677-page paperback copy in a local bookstore to get on the literary path. To date, I've picked up the book only a handful of times, making my famed notes in the margins to return to at a later date for inspiration. It sits on my shelf, glowing yellow cover blaring at me as a reminder to explore my storytelling devices rather than stick to my usual, dependable "just the facts ma'am" approach to journalism. In other words, it's an amazing, jam-packed resource book that has been described as a master's degree in creative writing, book form. The only reason I choose 4 stars over 5 is that I have yet to explore the ENTIRE book and will upgrade should the tome warrant the top accolade.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rilkepoet

    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 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 more short stories, but unfortunately is more expensive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    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

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ev.

    I thought this book did a good job of laying down some "ground rules" for fiction writing. I mean, most seasoned authors would know them, but LaPlante provides a good refresher on how to craft characters, beginnings, ends, scenes, settings, etc. That's not to say her words are the be all and end all to writing. It was simply nice to see some solid advice laid out in an organized manner, backed up by some really cool short stories. I thought this book did a good job of laying down some "ground rules" for fiction writing. I mean, most seasoned authors would know them, but LaPlante provides a good refresher on how to craft characters, beginnings, ends, scenes, settings, etc. That's not to say her words are the be all and end all to writing. It was simply nice to see some solid advice laid out in an organized manner, backed up by some really cool short stories.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    The problem with this book is that so little of it is written by LaPlante. Rather, probably 75 percent of the pages are filled with excerpts and full reprints of short stories. I don't mind examples to illustrate the element of writing being discussed, but it would be helpful to have more than a couple of sentences from LaPlante before Joyce Carol Oates shows up again. The problem with this book is that so little of it is written by LaPlante. Rather, probably 75 percent of the pages are filled with excerpts and full reprints of short stories. I don't mind examples to illustrate the element of writing being discussed, but it would be helpful to have more than a couple of sentences from LaPlante before Joyce Carol Oates shows up again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    LATOYA JOVENA

    This is a writing text book. It feels like it's directed towards writers of high brow literary fiction which is great. Unfortunately that's not me. Most of this book simply went right over my head. This may have worked better for me if I used it in a fine arts class or writing workshop but it's not a writing book I'd recommend. I think there are better out there. This is a writing text book. It feels like it's directed towards writers of high brow literary fiction which is great. Unfortunately that's not me. Most of this book simply went right over my head. This may have worked better for me if I used it in a fine arts class or writing workshop but it's not a writing book I'd recommend. I think there are better out there.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Elmore

    Really great reference book for aspiring writers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    William Schram

    A blank page can be uncomfortable. Some people can delve deep into the well of creativity and come up with anything: a 500-word essay on mollusks, for example. The rest of us require help sometimes, though. The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante is such a book. The Making of a Story is a Noton Guide to creative writing. It has several short stories as examples and questions to elicit understanding. The book is for a classroom setting. There are some old favorites in this collection. This book did A blank page can be uncomfortable. Some people can delve deep into the well of creativity and come up with anything: a 500-word essay on mollusks, for example. The rest of us require help sometimes, though. The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante is such a book. The Making of a Story is a Noton Guide to creative writing. It has several short stories as examples and questions to elicit understanding. The book is for a classroom setting. There are some old favorites in this collection. This book didn't stand out too much, but it works for what it is.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emma Getz

    Read this for my creative writing class but here were my favorite stories in it: Brownies by ZZ Packer, Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin (which I have read many times before but it's an eternal favorite), Surrounded by Sleep by Akhil Sharma, No Name Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ralph the Duck by Frederick Busch. Read this for my creative writing class but here were my favorite stories in it: Brownies by ZZ Packer, Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin (which I have read many times before but it's an eternal favorite), Surrounded by Sleep by Akhil Sharma, No Name Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ralph the Duck by Frederick Busch.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kim Timmermans

    Very comprehensive, so encouraging and not prescriptive at all, just the perfect guide for me. There are maybe a bit too much examples (complete short stories and stuff) but I enjoyed reading everything!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tee Jay

    In The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, Alice LaPlante delves into the subject of creative writing with great detail; this book is layered, and has a lot of information to absorb—too much to be sufficiently learned with just one reading. This book will require many revisits, and many re-reads to get everything out of it. This is not a bad thing. For readers (and budding writers) who are looking to get a lot of bang for their buck, purchasing The Making of a Story: A Norton In The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, Alice LaPlante delves into the subject of creative writing with great detail; this book is layered, and has a lot of information to absorb—too much to be sufficiently learned with just one reading. This book will require many revisits, and many re-reads to get everything out of it. This is not a bad thing. For readers (and budding writers) who are looking to get a lot of bang for their buck, purchasing The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing will definitely be money well spent. The one criticism I have is that the text of this book does not flow well. There are very many writing examples that the author includes, perhaps too many. This can inspire instances of information overload and perhaps confusion for one trying to figure out style and voice. The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing would be best suited for a classroom, or workshop setting, rather than a solo venture. Nonetheless, if one does have a lot of patience, time and desire to go solo to master his or her writing, than this book is a worthwhile addition to the bookshelf. I know I will be revisiting it in the future as I develop as a writer and wish to partake in some of the exercises and lessons available in The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing. Also, one of the best chapters is at the end of this book, and it is on revision. There are some very good insights provided, as well as cautionary advice to help a budding writer not lose faith. In essence, what is said is that the revision process is the most important part of the writing process, and where a piece truly gets its shape and meaning. A writer should therefore not give up on a rough first draft, but simply plough through to completion. Very inspiring stuff indeed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Are you a writer? This is a must read book. It's part of the Norton Guide series - you know, those fiction and poetry anthologies stuffed to the gills printed on thin paper that you have to read in English Lit class - and as such, it's an excellent guide to how to write. Covering both fiction (mostly the short story, but techniques apply to novels as well) and creative non-fiction (memoir, essay), this book is an amazing resource. Read the first half of the book (Ch. 1-5) to learn how to make yo Are you a writer? This is a must read book. It's part of the Norton Guide series - you know, those fiction and poetry anthologies stuffed to the gills printed on thin paper that you have to read in English Lit class - and as such, it's an excellent guide to how to write. Covering both fiction (mostly the short story, but techniques apply to novels as well) and creative non-fiction (memoir, essay), this book is an amazing resource. Read the first half of the book (Ch. 1-5) to learn how to make your writing surprising, exciting, compelling, and yet believable. No prescriptive outline-on-notecards instructions here. You need to write to discover, to share new and unusual insights with readers who will tumble over your prose to read more, more, more. Be creative! Don't stop at the well-repeated mundane observation, but move deeper and more intelligently into the things only you notice, the small details of life and of how humans behave (not to mention robots and cyborgs, in my case!), to make something new and captivating for yourself and for your reader. The second half of the book (Ch. 6 onward) provides a strong foundation for the nuts-and-bolts techniques of craft as a writer: dialog, characterization, plot, description, point of view, voice, etc. If you want to write, if you really want to write, pick up this book and start with Chapter 1. You'll be inspired, thrilled, and ready to sit down and pour out your creativity in tales that will surprise and satisfy yourself and other readers. I read this book first last year (2017), and after studying it carefully, my writing has burst forth with productivity and much greater skill. I picked up the book again as a refresher, to remind myself of the ways to make my writing even better.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    This has been on my bedside table for a few months. I'd pick it up now and again, a little afraid that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. I grabbed it this morning on the way to the hell that is jury duty. Oh, what a great book! LaPlante doesn't give lists of "writing rules" or cute stories of how to overcome blocks. Instead, she peppers explanations with great quotes and examples. Each chapter has three parts: the first lays the groundwork of a topic (like "Crafting Effective Dialogue"), t This has been on my bedside table for a few months. I'd pick it up now and again, a little afraid that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. I grabbed it this morning on the way to the hell that is jury duty. Oh, what a great book! LaPlante doesn't give lists of "writing rules" or cute stories of how to overcome blocks. Instead, she peppers explanations with great quotes and examples. Each chapter has three parts: the first lays the groundwork of a topic (like "Crafting Effective Dialogue"), the second contains ideas for related writing exercises, and the third contains at least 2 full essays that help illustrate. LaPlante uses all sorts of authors--Francine Prose, Barbara Ehrenreich, John Cheever, Carver, Denis Johnson, Hemingway. I don't think I'll ever forget sitting in that hot jury pool room, in a chair designed to make your lower back ache, laughing at Joan Didion's essay "On Keeping a Notebook."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Apezteguia

    My sister read this as part of a creative writing course at her university. I was so impressed with how her writing improved that she purchased this book for me that Christmas. This is the best and most comprehensive book on writing that I've read (I'm guessing I've read 15 or so at this point). There are excellent examples that illustrate the difference between showing/telling (which includes an excellent explanation of the role of narration). LaPlante's advice with regards to writing as if you My sister read this as part of a creative writing course at her university. I was so impressed with how her writing improved that she purchased this book for me that Christmas. This is the best and most comprehensive book on writing that I've read (I'm guessing I've read 15 or so at this point). There are excellent examples that illustrate the difference between showing/telling (which includes an excellent explanation of the role of narration). LaPlante's advice with regards to writing as if you were a camera was very helpful to my own writing, as was her counsel about details (ie, details are the soul of good writing). Her chapter on dialogue is also extremely helpful, as was her distillation of the idea that good writing is surprising but convincing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I just want to brag that I read this cover to cover in my free time, and not for a class. It was terrific! A wonderful selection of stories to read at the end of each chapter, from Lorrie Moore to James Baldwin to Chekhov. Like a DIY MFA, but better because not tens of thousands of dollars. I picked it up when I felt like I was losing touch with some basic storytelling principles and wanted a refresher, and it was perfect for that and more. Far from prescriptive, it's very sensitive about actual I just want to brag that I read this cover to cover in my free time, and not for a class. It was terrific! A wonderful selection of stories to read at the end of each chapter, from Lorrie Moore to James Baldwin to Chekhov. Like a DIY MFA, but better because not tens of thousands of dollars. I picked it up when I felt like I was losing touch with some basic storytelling principles and wanted a refresher, and it was perfect for that and more. Far from prescriptive, it's very sensitive about actually offering good advice while still leaving the door open for creative interpretation and rule-breaking. Lovely and readable, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in narrative, whether a writer or not.

  26. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    This was a textbook for my Fiction Writing class, and I gotta say i'm glad we ended up using it. I plan on having it on my desk for reference, study the short stories catalogued inside it and inspiration. The advice in this book is fantastic, and the variety of short stories and clips from novels is helpful, insightful and enlightening. Plus the stories are just good, so there's that going for it. i've written over a great majority of them, though, which makes me wish I had studied the book with This was a textbook for my Fiction Writing class, and I gotta say i'm glad we ended up using it. I plan on having it on my desk for reference, study the short stories catalogued inside it and inspiration. The advice in this book is fantastic, and the variety of short stories and clips from novels is helpful, insightful and enlightening. Plus the stories are just good, so there's that going for it. i've written over a great majority of them, though, which makes me wish I had studied the book with a pencil instead of a pen and highlighter... Read it, learn from it, and work hard at your craft.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cara Sexton

    For an emerging writer, there is no more comprehensive book that I've found which covers the art and science of storytelling, both in fiction and nonfiction genres. Though its length is daunting, What sets this book apart from countless others is its inclusion of top-notch stories worked in throughout the text--classics and contemporary alike--to illustrate techniques, to teach the student to read as a writer does and to appreciate literature. This certainly adds enormously to the book's length, For an emerging writer, there is no more comprehensive book that I've found which covers the art and science of storytelling, both in fiction and nonfiction genres. Though its length is daunting, What sets this book apart from countless others is its inclusion of top-notch stories worked in throughout the text--classics and contemporary alike--to illustrate techniques, to teach the student to read as a writer does and to appreciate literature. This certainly adds enormously to the book's length, but it is worth every page. Wonderful resource for writers--read it cover to cover. You won't be sorry you did.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Viramontes

    A clear, concise book of guidelines for fiction writing -- it doesn't prescribe the "correct" way to write, instead providing suggestions and tools to help the author focus on and effectively channel his or her inner madness onto the page. The beauty of fiction is that it is amorphous and unable to be defined, but Alice LaPlante does a fantastic job rendering the different facets of the craft into a very accessible text. Honestly, though, the short stories used to illustrate the point of each ch A clear, concise book of guidelines for fiction writing -- it doesn't prescribe the "correct" way to write, instead providing suggestions and tools to help the author focus on and effectively channel his or her inner madness onto the page. The beauty of fiction is that it is amorphous and unable to be defined, but Alice LaPlante does a fantastic job rendering the different facets of the craft into a very accessible text. Honestly, though, the short stories used to illustrate the point of each chapter were worth the price of admission alone.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Gillespie

    If you write fiction or creative nonfiction, or if you enjoy reading short stories and want to know more about how to understand the literature you read, you would probably get a lot out of Alice LaPlante’s The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing. I found that the book covered issues and techniques I’ve read about before in other books about writing, but I appreciated that every section included short stories illustrative of the points made in that section. {Read my full review h If you write fiction or creative nonfiction, or if you enjoy reading short stories and want to know more about how to understand the literature you read, you would probably get a lot out of Alice LaPlante’s The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing.I found that the book covered issues and techniques I’ve read about before in other books about writing, but I appreciated that every section included short stories illustrative of the points made in that section.{Read my full review here}

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aditi Chopra

    A colleague of mine recommended this book to me and I absolutely loved it! Being new to fiction writing, I learned a lot of technicalities from this book. I had heard of "show and not tell" approach but Alice LaPlante has clarified the correct approach beyond doubt. I also learned quite a bit from Chapter 6 "Who's Telling This Story, Anyway?". This book also has a good mix of tips for creative nonficton and fiction writing. A colleague of mine recommended this book to me and I absolutely loved it! Being new to fiction writing, I learned a lot of technicalities from this book. I had heard of "show and not tell" approach but Alice LaPlante has clarified the correct approach beyond doubt. I also learned quite a bit from Chapter 6 "Who's Telling This Story, Anyway?". This book also has a good mix of tips for creative nonficton and fiction writing.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.