The pieces of a satisfying novel or story seem to fit together so effortlessly, so seamlessly, that it's easy to find yourself wondering, -How on earth did the author do this?- The answer is simple: He sat alone at his desk, considered an array of options, and made smart, careful choices.In On Writing Fiction, award-winning author and respected creative writing professor DThe pieces of a satisfying novel or story seem to fit together so effortlessly, so seamlessly, that it's easy to find yourself wondering, -How on earth did the author do this?- The answer is simple: He sat alone at his desk, considered an array of options, and made smart, careful choices.In On Writing Fiction, award-winning author and respected creative writing professor David Jauss offers practical information and advice that will help you make smart creative and technical decisions about such topics as:Writing prose with syntax and rhythm to create a -soundtrack- for the narrativeChoosing the right point of view to create the appropriate degree of -distance- between your characters and the readerHarnessing the power of contradiction in the creative processIn one thought-provoking essay after another, Jauss sorts through unique fiction-writing conundrums, including how to create those exquisite intersections between truth and fabrication that make all great works of fiction so much more resonant than fiction that follows the -write what you know- approach that's so often used....
|Title||:||On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft|
|Number of Pages||:||256 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft Reviews
well, I wouldn't say this was a complete waste of time, nor would I say it should be the next Bible of creative writing. it's required reading for a class next quarter, so I got it and read it early. there isn't enough substance in this book to constitute its state as a book. the chapter about flow had jauss blatantly admitting he had no concrete definition for the word as he struggled around that glaring fact. the point-of-view chapter was the only one that really changed my perspective (pun intended) on something in the creative process. the chapter about present tense really could've been reduced to a bulleted T-chart from the almost 40-page monster it grew to. jauss's error is in trying to be thorough, because he ends up pontificating too much, talking around himself, and meandering through what he's trying to say. offers some (some) helpful advice in lots of other words.
Courting creative uncertainty What spawns creativity? Are some people born creative and others not? How can you become more creative? In his book On Writing Fiction – Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft, author, poet and teacher, David Jauss, suggests that “not knowing is crucial to art; that without uncertainty the imagination simply does not come into play. Think about it. The act of creating is defined as “to bring into existence”. If everything about a subject is known to you than, by definition, it has already been created, it already exists. But aren’t we supposed “to write what we know”? Actually, that will likely be quite boring not only for your readers, but also for yourself since how many of us live the kind of life that would make good fiction? Instead, consider what Grace Paley said, “You write from what you know into what you don’t know.” Write from the point of view of someone or something you know, for example, you’re a teacher of elementary students so you know all that goes into becoming a teacher and the specifics about the job. If your character is written from this point of view (what you know) he or she will likely be well grounded and credible. But for this to become truly creative you have to “bring something (new) into existence”. Begin by seeking out and destroying the cliché, the stereotype, the formulaic plot, the predictable rhyme, the potted theme, all the tried and true, tired and unoriginal conventions and then use them unconventionally. Be “rejecting, negating and contradicting” all your preconceptions, you enter into the realm of uncertainty, and then, and only then, will the imagination come into play. Consider the following example: What is your name? There is only one answer. No uncertainty, no imagination needed, nothing created. Now choose a pseudonym. Unlimited answers, no certainty, imagination goes to work, a new name is created.
Can't recommend this one highly enough. Jauss brings in everything (history/philosophy/linguistics) to the study of writing craft. His chapter on POV is the most helpful material I've ever read on POV.
The essay on epiphanies and the essay on how to arrange a short story collection are brilliant.
The seven essays here are thought-provoking and clarifying, well-written and insightful, by a long-time teacher of creative writing. It is perhaps the best craft book I’ve read in a year. It’s not about fundamentals however, so if you’re looking for tips on how to develop a character or plot a story, you won’t find them here. This book concerns the deeper intricacies of the craft for someone who has already learned the basics.In the second essay Jauss focuses on the third person narrator, which can be objective, outside a character, reporting only observable behavior and speech (as a playwright must do); or the narrator can be “close,” inside the head of the character; an observer and reporter of the character’s innermost thoughts and feelings. A third-person narrator, in skilled hands, can cover both those poles and all the distance in between. The most interesting part of the essay is a discussion of “indirect interior monolog,” in which the narrator’s voice virtually merges with the character’s, a technique more commonly called free indirect discourse, or free indirect speech. Jauss’ name for it is unique, but more descriptive than the standard terms. There are equally insightful articles on managing time in fiction, from present tense descriptions to reminiscences and flashbacks, to proleptic commentary, to full projection into the future. Compression and dilation of time is one of the special tools novelists have at their disposal. A strong essay criticizes the current fad of using the present tense. Jauss lists and explains a dozen shortcomings inherent to the present tense, along with a couple of advantages it offers to authors.He also has apparently had it with epiphanies, which are de rigeur in modern fiction. They’re usually obvious, unearned, he says, and unnecessary and unrealistic besides. Epiphanies are rare in real life, and when they do occur, they often fade quickly or turn out to be wrong. Epiphanies are overdone in fiction. The essays cite a cornucopia of well-known works of fiction as examples, but you would have to be very well-read to benefit from them, especially references to individual short stories. How many published stories are out there? Tens of millions? Jauss’ citation of such examples gives the impression that the book is addressed to MFA students who would be aware of some implicit canon. Academic insider-speak aside, the essays in this book are consistently informative and often revelatory.
So a friend suggested this one. It's written by a local professor and her favorite teacher. It's written in essays that I can definitely see as being taught as lessons in class. The books he references are typical college literary classics (some of which I haven't and likely never will read) but while it can be a touch dry it's entirely made up for by the fact that it really isn't covering the same old basics typical writing books do.Or, I should say, the topics might be the same but what he has to say about them is different. He offers different opinions and perspectives on subjects such as flow in writing. He breaks down things that make up flow like syntax and rhythm in a way I'd never though about before. (And made me intrigued to read more about syntax. I'd never really thought much about it.) Or one of my favorites was the essay dismissing the old "write what you know" cliche. Ninety percent of this book is wonderful and I'd love to own it to reread sometime in the future. It's the last essay or two that get a little too philosophical for me. I honestly couldn't even tell you what he was talking about in them. Where creativity comes from maybe? I'm not a philosopher at all and don't really have an interest in their perspectives on writing. I still tried to read the essay but obviously it flowed right back out of my brain in a fog.Truly, though, the book was worth it for all the rest of the essays. If you love to read about writing and get tired of the same rehashed teachings in the books you pick up. Try this one, it's different.
Hard to assess such a complex book on a first read, but all I can say for now is if you're willing to consider that some rules and "fact" about the writing process might be up for debate, Mr. Jauss has some things to say to you. If I get a chance to peruse it more thoroughly, I'll be sure to provide a more thorough review.
I've reviewed each of the chapters of this book in my Write or Wrong blog, links to which can be found at www.petergpollak.com.
The author believes that much of the advice given to aspiring fiction writers is wrong and provides his own analysis. It is somewhat difficult to read and understand although he gives many examples.
Recommended reading for any serious writer of fiction.