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Customer Review

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in the series, 23 Jan. 2003
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This review is from: Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing) (Hardcover)
Here's a list of chapter topics:
Nuts and Bolts of Drama
Stage-setting
Openings
Leave-em Hanging
Dialogue
Mood and Atmosphere
Character Development
Point of View
Subtlety and Misdirection
Time and Place
Pacing
Endings
If you look at the list, you'll see many of the "usual suspects" of writing subjects - things that you may well have studied before.
What this book tries to do is to show how each of these areas relates to the subject matter - conflict, action, and suspense. So, for example, building these through dialogue, or point of view, is covered.
This worked well for the first few chapters - even with topics with which I'm very familiar, I felt I was learning new ways of looking at the tools available, and using them in the service of better conflict.
But I'm afraid it got very flabby towards the end, as if the author was running out of things to say, or had left the things he's less comfortable with until last. All in all, the points he has to make could be distilled down into a far more compact form, which would be quicker to read and easier to refer to.
Also, I'm afraid the samples he offers to illustrate his lessons are dreadful (except where he's culled them from other, more accomplished writers). That shouldn't make a difference, perhaps, because they're only examples after all, but in a series that includes people like Orson Scott Card, who's a superb writer as well as teacher, I expected better.
Overall, while I've certainly gleaned some useful insights from this book, I came away disappointed. I was far more impressed by other titles in the series: Character and Viewpoint, and Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, come to mind.
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Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,553