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What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writersby Anne Bernays
Synopses & Reviews
Part One. Beginnings Chapter 1. First Sentences: Beginning in the Middle
Chapter 2. The Story's History
Chapter 3. Pairs of Beginning Sentences (From Alexandra Marshall)
Chapter 4. Begin a Story with a Given First Line (From William Kittredge)
Chapter 5. Ways to Begin a Story
Part Two. Notebooks, Journals and Memory Chapter 6. Who Are You? Somebody!
Part Three. Characterization Chapter 12. He/She: Switching Gender
Part Four. Perspective and Point of View Chapter 20. The Engagement Party
Part Five. Dialogue Chapter 24. Speech Flavor, or Sounding Real (From Talia Selz)
Part Six. Plot Chapter29. Three by Three (From William Melvin Kelley)
Part Seven. Story Elements as a Given Chapter 36. Sunday: Discovering Emotional Triggers
Part Eight. Resolution And Final Meaning Chapter 44. Titles and Keys
Part Nine. Invention and Transformation Chapter 47. The Inner Life of Characters
Part Ten. Mechanicals Chapter 57. Identifying Story Scenes During Revision
Part Eleven. Games Chapter 73. Learing to Lie
Part Twelve. Learning From The Greats Chapter 76. Finding Inspiration in Other Sources--Poetry, Nonfiction, etc.
About the Contributors
What If? is the first handbook for writers based on the idea that specific exercises are one of the most useful and provocative methods for mastering the art of writing fiction. With more than twenty-five years of experience teaching creative writing between them, Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter offer more than seventy-five exercises for both beginners and more experienced writers. These exercises are designed to develop and refine two basic skills: writing like a writer and, just as important, thinking like a writer. They deal with such topics as discovering where to start and end a story; learning when to use dialogue and when to use indirect discourse; transforming real events into fiction; and finding language that both sings and communicates precisely. What If? will be an essential addition to every writer's library, a welcome and much-used companion, a book that gracefully borrows a whisper from the muse.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 227-228).
About the Author
Anne Bernays, a novelist and writing teacher, is the author of eight novels, including Professor Romeo and Growing Up Rich, as well as two works of nonfiction, including The Language of Names written with Justin Kaplan and What If? written with Pamela Painter. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous major publications, among them The Nation, the New York Times, Town & Country, and Sports Illustrated. She lives in Cambridge and Truro, Massachusetts with her husband, Justin Kaplan. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.
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