Beginnings, Middles and Ends (The elements of fiction writing) Paperback – 1 Mar 2001
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About the Author
Although she began by writing fantasy, Nancy Kress currently writes science fiction, most usually about genetic engineering. She teaches regularly at summer conferences such as Clarion, and during the year at the Bethesda Writing Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition, she is the "Fiction" columnist for Writer's Digest magazine. She has won two Nebulas and a Hugo, and lost over a dozen more of these awards. Her work has been translated into Swedish, French, Italian, German, Spanish, began by writing fantasy, among others. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
Good solid advice, clear and helpful exercises and a no nonsense approach. I highly recommend it to aspiring writers.
The Author gives good samples of how to make an opening attractive for a possible publisher, how to make a middle compelling, how not to ruin your story with a bad ending. The Author says everything you need to know to structure in the best way your story and explain also how you must deal with first and second draft and so on.
I think that this is a great refernce for anybody who wants to become a better writer. Definitely, I suggest this book as a first How-to book to read. Of course it must be integrated with other reads, such as the great "Characters and Viewpoint" by Orson Scott Card. This book doesn't want to be complete, but it makes the job it promises pretty well, giving to you good tips on how to structure your book or short story.
Beginnings, Middles, and Ends is a readable and informative guide to creating stories that hang together from the opening paragraph to the final page. There's advice here for both novelists and short-story writers (but most of the material is general, with specifics noted where necessary).
Kress provides so much excellent guidance for each stage (beginning, middle, end) that it's impossible to choose one part as being more useful than any other. In fact, the crucial message for me was the interconnectedness of these three things: the implicit promise that's set up in the beginning, developed in the middle, and paid off at the end.
Within that, there are all sorts of nuggets that will, for example, help you write opening paragraphs to grab the reader's (or editor's) attention, and craft endings that don't leave the reader feeling let down. There's also some more general advice on approaches to revision, dealing with writers' block, etc.
All in all, this will be a welcome addition to any aspiring writer's "craft of writing" shelf.
I have been writing about scuba diving and shipwrecks for several years (my first piece appeared in 1978!), and my books have won awards. That genre, however, involves research where I describe history, facts, figures and, of course, whatever is found underwater.
For many years (yes years!) I have been working on a novel and am, therefore, fully aware that writing about Fiction is not as easy as it might appear - even for a modestly successful writer of non-Fiction. Fiction is not about an ability to tell a story. Instead, it requires the weaving of intrigue into everyday life so that the reader is compelled to continue. For example, a Memoirs or Biography is the retelling of a series of events - year by year, as they happened to the subject of the work and there cannot be scenes with actions or conversations in which that person was not present. No matter how interesting that life may have been, it simply does not translate into fiction without the addition of suspense and intrigue and these are skills which must be learned.
Every book has a beginning, a middle and an end and these must all be planned, worked out (and worked on!) in order to make the work unputdownable. In this book by Nancy Kress we have an explanation of the fundamental requirements of each of these three elements written in an easy-to-understand manner from which I have learned a great deal.
Laid out under three basic headings (Beginnings, Middles and Ending, of course!), the content is confined to three chapters under each heading with the final one in each case being a most useful `Help' section which really does work.
Might I suggest, therefore, any aspiring writer grabs notebook and pen and settles down to read this work from cover to cover making whatever notes are appropriate to either your own style or whatever work you are currently struggling with. I did exactly that and my Novel is much improved as a result.
Altogether, thoroughly recommended.
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i want to write great stories with the many characters and ideas in my head and i'm looking to write more than just the plots...Read more
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