The Art of Writing Fiction guides the reader through the processes of creative writing from journal-keeping to editing, offering techniques for stimulating creativity and making language vivid. Readers will master key aspects of fiction such as structure, character, voice and setting.
Andrew Cowan provides an insightful introduction that brings his own well-crafted prose style to bear on the processes and pleasures of writing fiction, offering practical and personal advice culled from his own experience and that of other published writers. He lays open to the reader his own notes, his writing, and the experiences from his own life that he has drawn on in his fiction allowing the reader to develop their own writing project alongside the author as they go through the book.
About the Author
Andrew Cowan is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of five novels, including Pig, which won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and most recently Worthless Men.
'Drawing on his own experience as a writer, Andrew Cowan lays bare the notes and experiences that he has used in his career, aiming to give an introduction to the creative writing process.'
Times Higher Education
'Very sane, intelligent, and in tune with my own experience of teaching.'
Tessa Hadley, Bath Spa University
'It looks absolutely great and will be a tremendous asset in our program.'
Professor Brian Castro, University of Adelaide
'At last a well-written, intelligent book about Creative Writing that I can comfortably recommend to my students.'
Matt Thorne, Brunel University
'Not only is it really useful and informative, it is also enjoyable to read... essential reading for all my students!'
Michael Langan, University of Greenwich
'Structurally the book is perfect, but what makes it magical is the revelatory tone... intimate and honest and instructive in a meditative manner. Solid advice sure, but sold so poetically.'
Susan Bradley Smith, La Trobe University
'The best coursebook on Creative Writing that I have ever read. Everything is here... writer/teachers will be stealing from this book for years to come.'
Richard Beard, National Academy of Writing
'I think it's a really fantastic resource. The chapter on 'Viewpoints' is perfect.'
Karen Stevens, University of Chichester
'Clearly written, interesting and well-targeted suggestions for practical exercises.'
Wayne Price, Aberdeen University
'I've recommended it to my MA and PhD students. It's a work that in a very unself-conscious way takes us with the writer through the stages of the creative writing experience. I found the quotes honest and apposite and unlaboured. It is authentic.'
Dic Edwards, University of Wales Lampeter
'The book covers many of the narrative and creative issues that come up when teaching creative writing. The examples are excellent. The chapters rise in complexity beginning with an engaging piece on writers' places and practice and gradually taking novice writers through more complex narrative issues.'
Stephanie Norgate, University of Chichester
1. When where what...
3. Friends and foes
4. What where when
WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW: OBSERVATIONAL JOURNALS
5. Keeping an observational journal
6. Keeping a scrapbook
7. Weather report
8. Street life
10. Home life
WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU DONT KNOW YOU KNOW: AUTOMATIC WRITING
11. First thoughts
12. First things
13. First thoughts, second thoughts
14. First drafts
DONT TELL ME
15. Telling it slant
16. Dont mention it
17. How does this feel?
20. Summary and scene
WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU USED TO KNOW: REMEMBERING AND PLACE
21. Lost things
22. Lost lands
23. Lost selves
24. Lost loves
29. A place
30. A person
WRITE ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW: CHARACTER
31. A Portrait of Yourself As You Are Now
32. Twenty questions
33. Q&A gimmick
34. Notes towards a character
36. Still life
37. Two characters
38. Oral history
40. Formatting dialogue
41. Dramatic twist
42. Cross purposes
43. Vernacular voices
44. In summary
45. Something is happening out there
46. Something else is happening
47. Captors and captives
48. Eye witness
50. You, too
51. Third, and finally
MIDDLES, ENDS, BEGINNINGS: STRUCTURE
52. Story vs plot
54. Beginning middle end
55. Middle beginning end
56. End middle beginning
MAKING STRANGE: DEFAMILIARISATION
62. Given words
63. Given moods
64. Exercises in style
65. Mathewss algorithm (almost)
MAKING CLEAR: REVISION, GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION
68. More first thoughts
70. Next thoughts