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Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft (Penguin Academics) Paperback – 3 Jan 2010

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About the Author

JANET BURROWAY is the author of plays, poetry, essays, children’s books, and eight novels including The Buzzards, Raw Silk (runner up for the National Book Award), Opening Nights, Cutting Stone, and Bridge of Sand. Her publications include a collection of personal essays, "Embalming Mom," in addition to a volume of poetry, Material Goods, and two children’s books in verse, The Truck on the Track and The Giant Jam Sandwich. Her most recent plays, Medea with Child (The Reva Shiner Award), Sweepstakes, Division of Property (Arts & Letters Award), and Parts of Speech, have received readings and productions in NewYork, London, San Francisco, Hollywood, Chicago, and various regional theatres. Her textbook Writing Fiction, now in its eighth edition, is the most widely used creative writing text in the United States. She is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Florida State University in Tallahassee.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 47 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Teach-Yourself Book on Creative-Writing Basics 5 Oct 2013
By C. J. Singh - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft (THIRD edition)
By Janet Burroway
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, CA) 5 October 2013

(The following is an addendum to my review of the previous edition that was posted on 8 April 2007.)

Janet Burroway's Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, 3rd Edition adds several new short stories, nonfictions, poems, dramas and drops some of the ones in the second edition, keeping the overall page count of the book about the same. Notably enhanced are the chapters on drama and on poetry. The drama section includes several examples of a newly popular genre, the ten-minute play.

Although marketed as a textbook for Creative Writing 101, this book can serve as an excellent primer for self-teaching. On completing the brief "try this" exercises included, you'll acquire a good understanding of the craft elements and be able to judge whether the comments on your work by other apprentice writers in a workshop or your friends are on the mark or not. Beware that even positive, flattering comments ("I loved this image...") can mislead you.

Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft (SECOND Edition)
By Janet Burroway
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, CA)
Unlike the reviews to date, my review focuses on the current edition, not the first edition.

The overall organization of the book is unchanged. The first part comprises chapters on the five elements of craft common to all genres of imaginative writing: Image; Voice; Character; Setting; Story. The second part comprises chapters on the four genres: Creative Nonfiction; Fiction; Poetry; Drama.

Among the new examples in the second edition are the following: contemporary short stories such as Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies," William Trevor's "Sitting with the Dead," Ron Carlson's "Big foot Stole My Wife"; contemporary poems by Billy Collins, Annie Tibble, and Henry Reed: contemporary creative nonfiction by Gayle Pemberton, Bill Capossere, and William Kittredge; contemporary drama by Carol Real, Jim Quinn, and Josh ben Friedman.

Also new are a series of developmental exercises, located in the basic techniques section at the end of each chapter. This series is designed to facilitate readers "toward a finished" draft of a short story.

Burroway has wisely retained many of the exemplary selections from the first edition such as Charles Baxter's "Snow," Donald Barthelme's "The School, and Robert Olen Butler's "Missing."

Its unique multigenre approach, lucid expositions, and "Try This" prompts make IMAGINATIVE WRITING the best primer for teaching yourself.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Jaimie M. Engle - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fabulous book! I use it in my homeschool classes, but I find myself writing the exercises and doing the prompts to create stories I never would have thought of. I have actually published several short stories which originated as prompts from this book. I highly recommend Ms. Burroway's craft books.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good for aspiring writiers 19 Sep 2011
By Gellysa - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an aspiring writer myself and I must say this book has been a great help. It has a chapter dedicated to every element necessary for a well written story; Character, Setting, Voice, Plot. There are also very useful exercises that help you develop your skills in each of the necessary aspects. It also helps you write every day, which is something any writer should be doing. Over all it is a very helpful book and in the short time I have had it I have poured out two short stories that, in my opinion, are much more full than anything I have written before.
Five Stars 2 July 2014
By Megan B - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book and great detail. It really helped me in my class.
great introduction to writing 5 Jun 2014
By Lou - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book takes the reader through the major genres of writing and gives loads of analysis and examples along the way. I particularly liked the author's revisions of her own first pages. Extremely enlightening. I only wish the author could have been my instructor.
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