Synopses & Reviews
For over ten years, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been teaching two popular master classes in the art of writing fiction and memoirs. They attract students nationwide who have failed to improve their work in courses concentrating on process'rather than craft, and want to go beyond :journaling"and "writing as therapy"to break through and publish their work.
Drawing on talks, exercises and examples proven in the classroom, So You Want to Writeaddresses:
How to begin a piece by seducing your reader,
How to create characters that embody the infinite contradictions of human behavior,
How to master the elements of plotting fiction,
How to create a strategy for telling the story of your life,
How to learn to read critically, like a professional writer,
How to realistically approach publishing.
Combining over seventy years of writing experience, other chapters include:
The overlooked powers of dialogue,
Creating descriptions that move readers emotionally,
FAQ's about agents, rejections, submitting work effectively, what writers really earn,
Overcoming shame and the difficulties of writing about loved ones.
Marge Piercyis the author of 35 books of fiction and poetry. She has lectured or performed at over 300 universities, and sold over 3,000,000 books worldwide. Ira Woodis the author of three novels, a publisher, and a popular writing teacher, whose classes address writers'feelings of hopelessness and despair. They live on Cape Cod.
Fiction is as old a habit of our species as poetry. It goes back to telling a tale, the first perceptions of pattern, and narrative is still about pattern in human life. At core, it answers the question, what then? And then and then and then. And memoir is equally old: it's telling about your life, perhaps originally to children or a prospective mate or a new acquaintance.
Poetry is an art of time, as music is. Rhythms are measured against time: they are measures of time. A poem goes forward a beat at a time as a dance does, step by step, phrase by phrase. Narrative, whether fiction or memoir, is about time. First this, then that.
"Eschewing the current trend in process-based writing classes and guides, Piercy and Wood urge writers to read critically and often; to ask themselves specific, exacting questions about their characters and plots; to complete the book's writing exercises; to do research in order to make a piece of writing believable; to participate in some kind of community of writers; and numerous other practical steps. Readers will appreciate the hardcore approach of these two dedicated writers." Publishers Weekly
"Here's a must-have for would be writers: a how to book written by a popular novelist and a successful publisher....the authors...have been teaching popular writing classes for a decade or so....This fine book is a distillation of the wisdom they have accumulated and dispensed over the years. They start at the beginning with beginnings (story openings) and move smoothly through character building, the importance of dialogue and plot, and how to craft compelling narrative passages. The focus here is on technique rather than business, so readers seeking tips on finding a publisher or conducting contract negotiations should look elsewhere. Piercy and Wood have a more fundamental audience in mind: anyone who has a good story to tell but isn't quite sure how to tell it. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White." David Pitt, Booklist
"The exercises get the juices flowing. This book, although joining an already saturated market is worth the shelf space." Library Journal
"So You Want to Write is a lively, informative, and down-to-earth guide for anyone who's ever thought of writing and publishing a novel, story, or personal memoir. It answers all the questions you may have as well as some you didn't think of." Alison Lurie
For over ten years, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been teaching two popular master classes in the crafting of fiction and memoirs. They attract students nationwide who have failed to improve their work in courses concentrating on the 'process' of writing, encouraging their potential but failing to supply them with the tools. Never before available in any form, So You Want To Write
Uses talks, exercises, anecdotes and examples proven in the classroom, to address:
- How to begin a piece by seducing your reader,
- How to create characters that embody the infinite contradictions of human behavior,
- How to master the elements of plotting fiction,
- How to create a strategy for telling the story of your life,
- How to avoid sounding like a 'victim,'
- How to learn to read critically, like a professional writer,
- How to realistically approach publishing.
Drawing on over seventy years of combined writing experience, other chapters include:
- The overlooked powers of dialogue,
- Creating descriptions that move readers emotionally,
- FAQ's about agents, rejections, submitting work effectively, how much writers really earn,
- Overcoming shame and the difficulties of writing about loved ones.
Written to be enjoyed as well as used, So You Want to Write
is the book for those who want to go beyond 'journaling' and 'writing as therapy,' to break through and publish their work.
About the Author
Marge Piercy is the author of 15 volumes of poetry and 15 novels, including the best sellers Gone To Soldiers and The Longings of Women. William Morrow will be publishing her upcoming memoir, Sleeping With Cats. Ira Wood is the author of three novels, a publisher, and a writing teacher whose classes address writers' feelings of hopelessness and overcoming the inner censor. Together, in 1998, they co-wrote the critically acclaimed novel Storm Tide.