Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends

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Writer's Digest Books, Mar 15, 1999 - Reference - 149 pages
2 Reviews

Get your stories off to a roaring start.
Keep them tight and crisp throughout.
Conclude them with a wallop.

Is the story or novel you've been carrying around in your head the same one you see on the page? Or does the dialogue suddenly sound flat and predictable? Do the events seem to ramble?

Translating a flash of inspiration into a compelling story requires careful crafting. The words you choose, how you describe characters, and the way you orchestrate conflict all make the difference—the difference between a story that is slow to begin, flounders midway, or trails off at the end—and one that holds the interest of readers and editors to the final page.

By demonstrating effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story, Nancy Kress will help you...

  • hook the editor on the first three paragraphs
  • make—and keep—your story's "implicit promise"
  • build drama and credibility by controlling your prose
Dozens of exercises help you strengthen your short story or novel. Plus, you'll sharpen skills and gain new insight into...
  • the price a writer pays for flashbacks
  • six ways characters should "reveal" themselves
  • techniques for writing—and rewriting
Let this working resource be your guide to successful stories—from beginning to end.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - devilwrites - LibraryThing

I want to start off by saying this is a fabulous resource. I picked it up because I've long heard Kress's "How To" books praised, and I must say, I'm very glad I did. There are, as always, things I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - whimsicalwattle - LibraryThing

A good book. Some of the tips will be useful, though not all. Not everyone writes the same way after all. Read full review

Selected pages


The Very Beginning Your Opening Scene
The Later Beginning Your Second Scene
Help for Beginnings Early Revision
The Middle Staying on Track
Under Development Your Characters at Midstory
Help for Middles Getting Unstuck
Satisfying Endings Delivering on the Promise
The Very End Last Scene Last Paragraph Last Sentence
Help for Endings The Last Hurrah

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About the author (1999)

DAVID BRIN has written or contributed to a dozen works of fiction and science fiction, has a Ph.D in astrophysics, and has been a professor and a NASA consultant.NANCY KRESS is the author of fourteen books of fantasy and science fiction, including both novels and short-story collections.

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