Long story short, this is one of the best books about the technical side of writing fiction. If you need tips, advice, structure, direction, buy this book. This how-to-do book on beginnings, middles and ends helps the writer with writing skills.
In beginnings the author discusses the implicit promise writers make with the readers. It instructs the writer on the importance of the first sentence, the first paragraph and the first scene. The middle looks at developing the promise and keeping your novel or short story on track. The writer does this through answering three questions: 1 Whose story is this?
It also covers moving from scene to scene and planning for the climax. The ends deliver the implicit promise. It discusses the climax, denouement and epilogue. Ends point out the importance of the last scene, last paragraph and the last sentence. The final chapter is on revision. This book discusses writer's block. It covers both the novel and the short story. It has exercises at the end of each chapter for the writer to practice.
Overall, the book is a good resource for the novice writer.
Mar 12, Mike rated it it was amazing Shelves: library , bought-when-price-dropped , writing-craft. This was excellent, not least because it's very well laid out, with a clear flow from point to point and chapter to chapter.
Fiction writing - Wikipedia
As you would hope from a book on beginnings, middles and ends. All too many craft books, I'm finding, don't have much to teach anyone who isn't a beginner. This is an exception. Even though some of the ground it covers is inevitably ground I've seen covered before, it does it so clearly and thoroughly that it provides fresh insight. For example, the section on This was excellent, not least because it's very well laid out, with a clear flow from point to point and chapter to chapter.
For example, the section on endings gave me an "aha!
1: How to write engaging novel beginnings
The editor I'd submitted to liked it apart from the ending, and requested a rewrite. I realised, reading Nancy Kress's explanation, why the rewritten ending had worked where the original had not: it directly addressed the conflict which started in the first paragraph and was developed through the middle of the story.
This was the main point I gained from the book: the beginning, middle and end form a unity. However, there's also useful material on characterisation, motivation, promises, climaxes, and a structured approach to revision. The author helpfully points out some differences between short stories and novels along the way. She also makes clear something that had been vague to me: how non-plotted or "literary" stories are supposed to work, and how to signal that you're writing one of those, and not a plotted story.
- Beginnings, Middles and Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing).
- Fringe Fantastic.
- Elements of Fiction Writing – Beginnings, Middles & Ends.
- Meditation Works: How To Meditate To Live In The Now, Free Of Stress, With A Relaxed Focus Mind! (Meditation Guide, Meditation Techniques).
- Beginnings, Middles and Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing).
I believe I'll now approach the non-plotted stories I read with more appreciation for what the author is doing. This is the second book I've read in the Elements of Fiction Writing series the first being the highly useful Scene and Structure , but I'll be searching out the others, given the excellent quality of both the ones I've read so far. Mar 24, Darcy Conroy rated it it was amazing Shelves: writing , structure , instructional , language , wordplay.
The book is targeted at both novelists and short story writers of any experience. Kress assumes little writing theory on the part of the reader and yet manages to be neither patronizing nor cliche when explaining basics I swear some books are written from the same template - not this one! Kress also takes care to emphasize that different writers work in different ways, addressing the "pantsters", who like to write without plotting, acknowledging that, for them, most of the advice will be relevant only after the first draft is done but it will be relevant.
So what's so good about this book? In short: it focuses on the writing. There's no showing off the author's understanding of Georges Polti, or proving that she bleeds Joseph Campbell. There are no structure formulas three acts with seven turning points, no nine sequences, no 18 dips and crests of the roller coaster, Kress has written a book which focuses on what you, the writer, need to know and do to organize your story's structure. Not that there's no theory, there's plenty, but it's all contextual, so it is clear how to apply it. How does Kress do this? Well - ahem - it's how the book is structured.
The title of the book is its structure. Starting with Beginnings, Kress discusses everything that needs to be considered when writing a beginning, which, of course, touches on everything from characterization, to language, to how the beginning effects the middle and the end. She acknowledges writers who find beginnings easy and offers assistance for those who find them difficult, addressing the various reasons one can become stuck while writing a beginning.
Kress then gives the same detailed treatment for each of Middle and End, followed by a section on Revision. I highly recommend this book to any writer, whether they are new to writing and don't know where to begin, or are wallowing uncertainly in a WIP.
Elements of Fiction Writing Beginnings, Middles and Ends
I particularly recommend this book to structure-phobics because, whether they think about it consciously while writing a first draft or not, a writer needs to know their craft and this book is a pain-free way to learn. I'll be putting this one on the storycraft Book Chat list.
A how to write book. With plenty of useful advice about how the beginning sets up the book's promise, transitions to your second scene, development of the middle, point of view structures, having it all collide in the climax, and the denouement.
Getting unstuck, working out how to develop the character rather than pull things like rabbits out of hats, and more. Dec 26, Charles rated it it was amazing Shelves: writing. This mid-sized book about writing has an oversized amount of knowledge packed into it. Nancy Kress has won four Nebula and two Hugo awards, written over 28 books, and it shows. Divided into three parts, appropriately, Beginnings, Middles and Endings, with three chapters in each part, and yes, a very helpful index at the back of the book.
She goes from your opening line, your opening scene, to last paragraph, the last sentence. Terrific, useful, step-by-step, craft advice on how to put the q This mid-sized book about writing has an oversized amount of knowledge packed into it. Terrific, useful, step-by-step, craft advice on how to put the qualities that make your beginnings original and interesting, and your prose credible. How to stay on track in the middle of the story and stick to the promise you made the reader in the beginning. And how to fill that promise in the ending. And, oh yes, exercises for those who like them.
I read and re read this one as I was writing the last few chapters of my current novel. It helped me avoid some mistakes that could easily have worked their way into the book. But not if you heed her advice. Here are her four rules for creating a satisfying climax: 1. The climax must satisfy the view of life implied in your story. The climax must deliver emotion 3. The climax must deliver an appropriate level of emotion. The climax must be logical to your plot and your story. Sounds deceptively simple? Nancy Kress devotes 17 pages to it.
How to find your novel’s structure
I recommend this book to anyone who writes, particular novelists. And I recommend having a yellow highlighter available, because, you will want to highlight sections for your re-reads. I don't often find the time to read how-to-write books, but I've been meaning to find some additional strategies for helping students who get stuck in the middle of their novels. This book is relatively short and simple, but I found all the advice to be sound and practical.
Almost all of the end-of-the-chapter exercises are versions of what I call Field Reconnaissance, which is the best way for a practicing writer to learn; so clearly I endorse them.
I did find some strategies to add to my list; I don't often find the time to read how-to-write books, but I've been meaning to find some additional strategies for helping students who get stuck in the middle of their novels. I did find some strategies to add to my list; and I also found the brief discussion of what makes a prologue valid to be useful. Sep 10, Audra rated it it was amazing. This book was extremely helpful to me. As I continue to write daily, my writing improves, but I often find myself getting stuck in the middle of my stories and also either not ending them sufficiently or at all.
Nancy Kress offers excellent detailed advice for all three aspects of the story. Most meaningful her explanation of how these aspects will differ from short story to novel. Really helpful. We guarantee the condition of every book as it's described on the Abebooks web sites. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.
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