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The great paradox of the writing life is that to be a good writer you must be both interested in the world around you and comfortable working in solitude for hours on end Fiction Writer's Workshop Second Edition is designed to help you foster a strong sense of independence—of being and thinking on your own of becoming self evaluative without being self critical—in order to accomplish what others seek in classroom groupsIn this comprehensive guide award winning writer and teacher Josip Novakovich explores every aspect of the art of fiction and provides all the tools and techniues you'll need to develop day to day discipline as well as a personal writing style such asMore than 100 writing exercises including dozens that are new to this edition that challenge you to experiment with diverse writing stylesSpecific statements of purpose for each exercise to help guide you and instruct you at every step of the creative processSelf critiue uestions to help you assess your work and identify strengths and weaknesses before moving on to the next lessonThe full text of eight acclaimed short stories with analysis and exercises to provide models for your own writing and help reinforce the lessons you've learnedThe practical insightful methods offered in this workshop will clarify your voice broaden your perspective and strengthen your fiction

10 thoughts on “Fiction Writer's Workshop

  1. says:

    Okay okay so I always complain about books on writing yet I am constantly reading books on writing either for classes or as craft markers for my own practice This one was actually pretty good First of all its written by an accomplished author that's crucial for me at this point Secondly it presents itself as a textbook One of the aspects of the how to write genre that I can't stand is the veiled arrogance behind most of those books The posture tends to be well you are actually a perfectly great writer and here are some tips to get past those pesky gatekeepers who need to be tricked into publishing your already great flawless writing At least a textbook comes from the perspective that writing is a craft to be worked on and improved I'll stick with that sort of optimism carried over good work gets published; no one is tricking anyone with secret codes and methodsAnyway Novakovich is an interesting writer and though I disagreed with his opinions at times he actually invites this and by no means considers his own word final All in all this was a useful overview of the main building blocks of fiction and the included anthology of stories were useful and interesting

  2. says:

    If you're looking for a writing book where an author riffs on writing for a while looks elsewhere It reads casual than a textbook would but Fiction Writer's Workshop demands a lot of work out of the reader If you're not willing to go through it performing most of the exercises you're not going to get the most out of it Granted I've yet to redo the whole book doing all the exercises but as far as I've gotten I've consistently found stories that I didn't know I had in me The author takes the approach of throwing as many techniues your way as possible and then asking you to experiment with them You'll embrace some and loathe others and in the process you'll find out about yourself as a writer and end up with a few pieces that you'll definitely want to work on some FWW probably has value if you're a beginner with the dedication to write everyday and learn the craft or an aspiring writer who's had trouble actually getting stories completed If you've been published and are just looking for a source of new ideas this is probably a path you've already been down before

  3. says:

    Oh my God From ideas in the first couple of chapters I wrote three count 'em THREE short stories Similar output throughout the rest of the book Love it

  4. says:

    I was introduced to this book last year through participation of an Open University online course so got myself a copy It's written in plain English without the sanctimonious habit many instructive authors have of loading everything with mysterious jargon andor elusive frilly words not used since Dickens was a lad This means that it's a book which extends a welcome to new writers rather than making them feel out of their depth As a seasoned author himself Novakovich is able to justify his lessons and examples through his own experiences He does however honestly state that these are just his experiences and in no way intended to dismiss methods others support This makes the book as welcoming to other experienced writers too because it doesn't disregard what they have to sayI've read other reviews and many of them allude to the extensive amount of exercises at the end of each chapter Some have insisted it's top heavy in that respect Is it? I challenge that and assert that writing as a profession is bloody hard work If a reader is serious about becoming a professional writer then these exercises are really just the tip of the iceberg and a realistic way of setting expectations of what needs to be done to succeed I still have many of these exercises to do and will continue to redo them in the futureOverall I think it's an excellent guide providing the reader has an open mind and a good work ethic

  5. says:

    There's a familiarity that comes from reading a lot of writing books and certainly Novakovich's book spends time on things you'll have read elsewhere But it's good to be reminded of these lessons and they come with some excellent practice exercises His breakdown of subjects like forms of humour also gave me some interesting new food for thought

  6. says:

    A very good resource for new and seasoned writers I am moving into the fiction genre and this book is very helpful especially the exercises Even if you don't actually do them just thinking about the subject helps you learn There are many awesome examples of the situations that are described

  7. says:

    It's super basic Some of the examples are taken out of context and the suggested changes are absurd The exercises are really the only reason to get this book

  8. says:

    I found Fiction Writer’s Workshop to be very informative There was a lot of information in this book that I had previously learned but had almost forgotten While reading the book when I learned about a new techniue or was re familiarized with an old I would suddenly feel inspired to write just to test the techniues out Novakovich does an excellent job of breaking down by chapter the fundamental principles of writing For most of his advice he provides clear examples which help to better illustrate the principles he is trying to teachEarly into the book in the Setting As Antagonist section Novakovich speaks of a writers need to view the world through fresh eyes To experience everything not only in the rare but in the mundane I felt this was an extremely important bit of advice As a writer inspiration can sometimes appear rather illusive but that is usually a result of our wanting to be inspired by an external force without attempting to find the inspiration on our own through simple appreciation of our surroundings Familiarity can sometimes be very inspiring but only if we allow ourselves to see the familiar in different ways Novakovich says “I took my eight month old son to the zoo to see the elephants He found a bee circling around us far intriguing than a dancing elephant Instead of noticing gibbons leaping on trees he noticed fish in the water It struck me that his perspective had a tremendous advantage over mine He saw the world while I saw the zoo” I found this to be wonderfully appropriate and important observation As writers we can easily believe that ideas can be hard to come by but if we view the world as a child would we would find a story to tell about most anythingLater within the chapter in the Setting as a Character Portrait section Novakovich speaks about using the setting to describe a character He explains how using the character's habits of arranging or keeping his belongings can be a useful way to illustrate the characters personality This seemed to me to be a very comfortable way to describe a character because it is something most people naturally do when entering another person's space It’s human nature to judge a person by how they organize or lack of organizing their surroundings life The example Novakovich used from Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol was a perfect example of this method It gave me a good starting point to begin my own experimentation of the methodI would say that the biggest potential shortcomings of the book were the exercises Not for their content but for the layout But that would only be a problem in my opinion depending on how the reader approaches them If someone felt they had to do each and every exercise then they might find themselves a little overwhelmed I took the exercises as suggestions that you could use in the future At times you either need inspiration or just want to practice but I am not sure that is how Novakovich meant the reader to use themOverall I found the book to be very well structured making referring back to it rather easy Novakovich does a good job of providing clear tools that the reader can uickly apply to hisher own writing I think I will find myself turning back to this book often While the practical tools he provides are valuable I believe his advice on how to approach writing and his advice on how to personalize your writing is probably the most important portion of anything he has laid out in the book

  9. says:

    A great source for fiction writers although it falls short in some areas Each section begins with a lecture of some sort with examples and thoughts then numerous assignmentsIt's divided into Sources of Fiction Setting Character Plot Point of View Dialogue and Scenes Beginnings and Endings Description and Word Choice Voice then RevisionThe chapter on gathering story ideas is pretty generic but useful in a broad way He lists some general things to trigger your thinking like childhood friends stories you hear but that's as far as it goesSetting is divided into many sections all useful very informative alive with detail If you had a problem with setting before this is up your alleyThe character section discusses round characters their mannerisms appearance etc It has useful comments but again is all generalPlot is a great chapter he discusses character conflict plots non confrontational plots and combinations He mentions a note card techniue for generating plots but as before it's of an educational guide and not an inspirational one I didn't find much useful advice for organizing or structuring a storyHis point of view is loaded with stuff I've never seen before; I consider this one of the best chapters the book offersThe only problems I had was the guide was written in a sort of stuffy way at times Also many of the story examples used were not works I read or have an interest in reading literary types work that you focus on in school Because of this it was a bit harder for me to get drawn into these sorts of examplesOverall though it's a great guide for writing itself not necessarily novel writing or short stories alone

  10. says:

    This book covers basic elements of fiction setting plot character beginnings endings dialogue narritive voice POV and revising Each chapter provides multiple examples using works of fiction and exercises and checklists for further writing developmentI've read a lot of these kinds of books and I like this one because it goes in depth on techniue The examples were a little dated; except for a couple I'd never read the books that were uoted from But I liked the author's fresh approach and ideas The excercises really make you think critically about your writing