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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falla's finest!, 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
I am really a keen reader, not a writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of serious work. I bought it simply because I have read two of the authors previous novels, Blue Poppies and Poor Mercy, and loved them both. The craft of fiction is a book about books, whether you are interested in writing or not. I would recommend it blindly to anyone interested in literature. From the classics (Leo Tolstoy and Thomas Mann) to the more contemporaneous writers (Vargas LLosa, Munoz Molina), the author seems to pull from under his sleeve seemingly endless examples to inform his well structured narrative. I was impressed by his wisdom and its ability to explain his points in a very clear and concise manner. The book transpires love and passion for literature and an honest will of sharing the intricacies and secrets of writing novels and having them published. It is clearly not written for the opportunist and commercially orientated writer but I am sure will serve well as guide for the more serious and dedicated professional. Wonderful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully clear and concise guide to writing fiction, 3 July 2013
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
There is no shortage of 'how-to' books in the world of creative writing, but few are as well written, well structured and coherent as Jonathan Falla's 'The Craft of Fiction'. This comprehensive guide looks at every angle of fiction writing, from the sources of inspiration and plot archtypes through characterisation and conflict creation to types of genre and how to edit. Falla's style is crisp and clear, his examples informative and eminently helpful; I found his analysis of Casablanca's three-act structure revelatory and something that I can easily adapt and use in my own teaching. This is a great little book - it should be a classic in its field.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real professional craft, 26 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
Out of all the fiction guides, this would be my choice. This is by someone who has published novels, made mistakes, won prizes, learned the hard way, and above all really loves literature - not just chick lit or the latest fashionable thrillers, but all good literature, the great tradition. It's great to have examples that put Thomas Hardy, Michel Faber, the Hound of the Baskervilles, Steig Larsson's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', Catherine O'Flynn and Chaucer all together when it comes to discussing sound narrative techniques; that really shows that he knows what he's talking about. Excellent examination of things like dialogue, descriptions, structure - most of what you need to know, and written for grown-ups. Really intelligently written, actually, and funny.
I'd like to see the book expanded some day. I don't know that I agree with everything he says (e.g. on film and fiction) but you feel you're having an intelligent conversation here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to the Craft, 17 April 2011
By 
J. Everington (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
This book is aimed at the wannabe novelists amongst us; it has sections on story arcs, using interior and exterior scenes, dialogue, converting your real life into writing (which has an interesting take on the standard 'write what you know' line - as the author rightly points out, you may be too close to what you know to make the necessary cuts and changes to turn it into art). It's written in an easy read style, informal but not annoyingly chatty. The examples from known and less well know books are well judged. I particularly liked the Robert Louis Stevenson story of just 49 words.

As with all books of this type, there will be bits that people disagree with - but because the book's arguments are plausible you have to think why you disagree, and in doing so learn more about what you actually think yourself.

The only real negatives for me were that there was very little on actual, line by line writing: how to write a good sentence. Also the section on short stories seemed slightly too, well, short - especially when it started with a section titled 'Why Bother?'

Other than that though, an interesting and clear read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb for wannabe writers, 22 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
As a writer I am always on the look out for books like this. In my view this is accelerated learning by learning from another writer. This author is NOT a household name BUT he is a damn fine writer.
He has been on Radio 4's Front Row with Mark Lawson and has been interviewed in top newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian. They do not waste time on hacks, that is a measure of how good he is. I have uploaded a scan of the cover of my book since the cover amazon are showing must be a dummy, The actual cover is gorgeous. I am writing my first novel and am changing some things as a result of Falla's advice. If you are keen to learn how to write you need to read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass that's always there when you need it., 18 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
Whether you're a novice writer looking for all the help you can get, more established and just stuck, or a reader, you'll get a great deal from this book. Jonathan Falla's deep understanding of what makes unputdownable high quality fiction is clear in every chapter, and yet his erudition is liberally peppered with affectionate wit, so that there is never any sense of hectoring or preaching. With clear examples from the author's own wide reading and literature study, as well as from the world of film, this is a vivid guide that you can return to over and over without tiring of it. There are also practical exercises so that you can try out the ideas and techniques for yourself. It's like having a wise and friendly tutor sitting by your desk ready to help whenever you need it. The book has been indispensable to me and has a special place by the side of my keyboard.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Help to Fiction, 16 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
I think everyone, no matter how good they write, does need guidance in their fiction writing once in a while. I've written novels and I have been writing for a fairly good amount of time, but despite that I can find helpful information in the book and at the same time very obvious things which make me stop and think, isn't it obvious to point out facts such as not demonstrating your unpolished writing to others who you may not trust or the fact that you can make characters out of your real life - that seemed also very obvious as well, as it seems one of the main tools; not all use it, but it's like a brush and a pencil to painting/drawing.
Also such things as the coda which I rarely noticed were quite a help to read, I've been using codas lately and they do indeed give a better feeling to the story.
One of the privileges, at the same time not such a great thing, is the fact that the book clearly helps anyone who is willing to start the path of actually writing a great novel and makes the young writer stop and analyse before he gets the easy bits which will soon become subconscious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars worth every penny, 10 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
As a published biographer, at my first attempt at fiction I found this concise book an eminently clear and practical guide for beginners, giving many relevant examples in each chapter, based on the author's considerable experience and wide reading - straight and to the point. I liked the fact that the chapters were self-contained and even included one on films and fiction.It was reassuring that the author emphasised throughout that his advice should not be construed as 'rules'
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT GUIDE, 8 July 2011
This review is from: The Craft of Fiction: How to Become a Novelist (Aber Creative Writing Guides) (Paperback)
I teach creative writing, and have been recommending this book to my students as an excellent combination of literary references and extremely simple and sound advice. This is a solid collection of no nonsense approaches to writing quality literature. The author lets his stance be informed by dozens of literary greats. A must read for anyone who is at the beginning of writing, or who simply wonders whether their own take on writing is echoed by the masters. My students all rave about it.
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