Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Book I Recommend for Fiction Writers

A doctor needs an education before opening a practice. A lawyer, engineer, or contractor all require educating themselves in the chosen field. And a writer is no different. Many new writers dive into the deep end of the literary pool and end up treading water or floundering around for a long time. They may have flashes of brilliant writing, but. some very amateruish bits, as well.. If you can't take a lengthy, expensive course at a noted writing academy, you have the option to self-educate.There are a large number of books that teach different aspects of writing.

Some are excellent and some are nothing but fluff that do little to further your writing abilities. Like anything else, writing has its own set of tools every author needs. So, from time to time, I would like to pass on the names of some books I've found enlightening and have perhaps made me a better writer.

The book I found most helpful in writing fiction is Beginnings, Middles and Ends written by Nancy Kress. It's one in a series of Elements in Fiction, but it's the one that stayed with me long after I read it as being clear, interesting and informative. Ms. Kress writes science fiction novels and books on the writing process. Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Miss any one of those, and there is no story.

The book helps a new writer see the importance of hooking a reader and/or editor immediately. No long build-up before the story begins. Some writers have great beginnings and endings but start to sink when the middle has no merit. And who wants a book that has a great beginning, the middle keeps you reading but the endng falls flat? This book cites the problems and offers solutions.

Although the book was published in 1990, it still has value today. It would be great if Ms. Kress would give us an updated version geared toward today's market. Don't let the publishing date scare you away, however, for there is still a whole lot of good information in it.

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