Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

ISBN-10: 1585425222

ISBN-13: 9781585425228

Edition: 2006

Authors: Sherry Ellis

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A collection of personal writing exercises and commentary from some of today's best novelists, short story writers, and writing teachers, including Jill McCorkle, Amy Bloom, Robert Olen Butler, Steve Almond, Jayne Anne Phillips, Virgil Surez, Margot Livesay, and more. What's the secret behind the successful and prolific careers of critically acclaimed novelists and short story writers Amy Bloom, Steve Almond, Jayne Anne Phillips, Alison Lurie, and others? Divine assistance? Otherworldly talent? An unsettlingly close relationship with the Muse? While the rest of us are staring at blank sheets of paper, struggling to come up with a first sentence, these writers are busy polishing off story after story and novel after novel. Despite producing work that may seem effortless, all of them have a simple technique for fending off writer's block: the writing exercise. In Now Write!, Sherry Ellis collects the personal writing exercises of today's best writers and lays bare the secret to their success. - In "The Photograph," Jill McCorkle divulges one of her tactics for handling material that takes plots in a million different directions; - National Book Award-nominee Amy Bloom offers "Water Buddies," an exercise for writers practicing their craft in workshops; - Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metaland Candyfreak, provides a way to avoiding purple prose in "The Five-Second Shortcut to Writing in the Lyric Register"; - and eighty-three more of the country's top writers disclose their strategies for creating memorable prose. Complemented by brief commentary from the authors themselves, the exercises in Now Write!are practical and hands-on. By encouraging writers to shamelessly steal proven techniques that have yielded books which have won National Book Awards, Pulitzers, and Guggenheim grants, Now Write! inspires the aspiring writer to write now.
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Book details

List price: $13.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 9/7/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

Sherry Ellis's author interviews have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Poets & Writers, Writer's Chronicle, Glimmer Train, and Agni, as well as other literary and arts magazines. A personal writing coach, she teaches writing in Concord, Massachusetts.

Wedding pictures
Through the senses
My pet
Two people come out of a building and into a story
The seed
Truthful dare
The photograph
The prefab story exercise
The upside-down bird : hybridizing memory, place, and invention
A map to anywhere
Starting with the news
Wedding cake assignment
A tabula rasa experiment
The five senses
Birth of a story in an hour or less
Surrealism exercise, or thinking outside the box
Overcoming dry spells
Field trip
Smushing seed ideas together
The writing exercise : a recipe
A story to tell
First-person point of view : imagining and inhabiting character
You-me-I-you in the cafeteria
Getting characters' ages right
What are they thinking? : a point-of-view exercise
Third-person narration and "psychic distance"
Look backward, angel
Let the dead speak : an exercise in first-person narration
Empathy and the creation of character
What's under the surface?
The interview
"Once upon a time" : playing with time in fiction
Why I stole it
Language portrait
Paw through their pockets, rifle through their drawers : a character exercise
Mr. Samsa, meet Bartleby
Rattlesnake in the drawer
A family theme, a family secret
Characters in conflict
The voyager : write what you don't know : an exercise in (surprising yourself with) character
Getting dramatic
Developing your characters
The way they do the things they do
Braiding time
Snoop 'da dialogue
Dialogue without words
Hearing voices
Dialogue exercise : the non-apology
Levels of dialogue
Fictional building blocks
Keep the engine running
The riff
Storyboard your story
Sticking to the structure
What am I writing about? : clarifying story ideas through summary
The richness of resonance
Setting in fiction
The character of setting
Animating the inanimate
Learning to layer
A sense of place
Be the tree
A very, very long sentence
Most memorable food : using sensory detail
Like water for words : a simile exercise
Finding a larger truth by turning autobiography into fiction
Secrets of the great scene
Hemingway's caroms : descriptive showing and telling
How to own a story
Object lessons
The Goldilocks method
Big scenes
Moving through time : a four-paragraph short short
Using the retrospective lens
Water buddies
Listening to sound to find sense
Entrances : building bigger scenes
The five second shortcut to writing in the lyric register
Meaning making via metaphor
Soundtracking your story
Negative capability
Seven drafts in seven days
More is more : an exercise in revising your story
The dark matter : twenty issues in novel revision
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