Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer

Front Cover
Bret Anthony Johnston
Random House Publishing Group, Dec 24, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 400 pages
2 Reviews
You already have the tools to become a gifted writer; what you need is the spark. Harvard creative writing professor and acclaimed author Bret Anthony Johnston brings you an irresistible interactive guide to the craft of narrative writing. From developing characters to building conflict, from mastering dialogue to setting the scene, Naming the World jump-starts your creativity with inspiring exercises that will have you scrambling for pen and paper. Every chapter is a master class with the country’s most eminent authors, renowned editors, and dedicated teachers.

• Infuse emotion into your fiction with three key strategies from Margot Livesey.
• Christopher Castellani dumps the “write what you know” maxim and challenges you to really delve into the imagination.
• A point-of-view drill from Susan Straight can be just the breakthrough you need to flesh out your story.
• Jewell Parker Rhodes shares how good dialogue is not just about what is being said but about what is being left unsaid.

Brimming with imaginative springboards and hands-on exercises, Naming the World has everything you need to become a stronger, more inventive writer.

“A delicious book. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party crammed with literary lions. You have the chance to spend a few moments with each of them. Wit and wisdom abound.”
–Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

“A highly useful and perceptive book. With charm and intelligence it touches on nearly every teachable aspect of the devilishly difficult art of writing.”
–Ethan Canin, professor of creative writing at the Iowa Writers Workshop, and author of Carry Me Across the Water

“These entertaining and useful exercises, intelligently organized, are a boon for both beginning and experienced writers.”
–Andrea Barrett, National Book Award—winning author of The Air We Breathe

“Forget about getting an MFA! For any writer struggling with his craft, here is the equivalent of a master class in writing by some of the best writer/teachers around.”
–Betsy Lerner, author of The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers



From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Booktrovert - LibraryThing

This is a great book and I would recommend it for anyone with an interest in writing. There are so many writing prompts to help get the creativity flowing. Each chapter is its own exercise and each chapter has been contributed by a different published author. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Dale_Riechers - LibraryThing

A great help for creative writing. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
GETTING STARTED
GERMS
WRITING PROMPTS
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
FICTION THROUGH ARTIFACTSor How to Justify a Love of Accumulating Junk
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENVIOUS
MOURNING FALLS USA
FROM ANECDOTE TO STORY
SEEING THE SCENE
WRITING SEX SCENES
CREATING THE MEMORY MAPFOR YOUR MEMOIR
USEFUL LIES
REWRITING THE CLICHÉS
FROM IMAGINATION TO PLOT
WHAT EVERY FICTION WRITER CANLEARN ABOUT PLOT FROM THATLOVABLE FURRY OLD GROVER

A POSTCARD FROM THEVELVET REVOLUTION
WHAT IF IT WAS MORE THAN THAT?
THE TITLE GAME EXERCISE
THREE LITERARY EXERCISES
MY FAVORITE FICTIONWRITING EXERCISE
AN EXERCISE IN RESEARCH
AN EXERCISETO GENERATE FICTION
BULLIES I HAVE KNOWN
OUR EVERCURIOUS MINDS
ADOPT A MYTH
CHARACTER
ON CHARACTER
WRITING AS PARLOR GAME
PROSE EXERCISES
NONFICTION TIMETRAVEL EXERCISE
YOUR FIVE SECONDS OF SHAME
INTERVIEWING YOUR CHARACTER
FROM AUTOBIOGRAPHY TO FICTION
PUTTING CHARACTERS INTO ACTION
SUBVERSIVE DETAILS ANDCHARACTERIZATION
COMPLEX CHARACTERS
TWO LITERARY EXERCISES
EXPOSING YOUR CHARACTERSWITH COMPASSION
THROUGH YOUR CHARACTERS EYES
POINT OF VIEWandTONE
ON POINT OF VIEW
POINT OF VIEW
EXERCISE ON POINT OF VIEW
THE POINT OF POINT OF VIEW
AN EXERCISE IN WRITING MEMOIR
WHAT DO YOU WANT MOST IN LIFE?A PointofView and Character Exercise
POINTOFVIEW EXERCISE FORPROSE WRITERS
TWO EXERCISES
THE CHICKEN CROSSED THE ROAD
DEVELOPING CHARACTER THROUGHALTERNATE POINTS OF VIEW
AN EXERCISE IN POV
PLOTandNARRATIVE
ON PLOT AND NARRATIVE
THE FIVE MODES
THICKENING YOUR PLOTS
THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE
ON PLOT
RECYCLING PROPS
DIALOGUEandVOICE
ON DIALOGUE AND VOICE
THREE EXERCISES
HE SAID WHAT?
CHARACTER AND SITUATIONTHROUGH DIALOGUE
ON DIALOGUE
THE THING ABOUT DIALOGUE
USING SUMMARY INDIRECT ANDDIRECT DIALOGUE
MASTER OF MULTITASKINGAND SLEIGHT OF HAND
THE FOREIGN VOICE
A DIALOGUE EXERCISE
DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGEandSETTING
ON DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE AND SETTING
AN EXERCISE IN SETTING
A STRANGER COMES TO TOWN
THE MONSTER IN THE ATTIC
SIMULTANEOUS ACTIONS IN FICTION
AN EXERCISE IN DETAILS
ARTISTIC PERSPECTIVE
ALL ABOUT RHYTHM
EMOTION IN FICTION
REVISION
ON REVISION
THE FIRST DRAFT OF ANYTHING
REVISING THE PERSONAL ESSAY
SILENCES AND BLANK SPACES
RESEEING IN REVISION
REVISE REENVISION REINVENT
HIDING THE IN FICTIONAND NONFICTION
SHOPPING FOR CONFLICT INTHE SECOND DRAFT
THE RIGHT WORD IN TAILS
DAILY WARMUPS
A NOTE ABOUT DAILY WARMUPS
DAILY WARMUPS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of Remember Me Like This, a New York Times Notable Book, the award-winning Corpus Christi: Stories, which was named a best book of the year by The Independent (London) and The Irish Times, and the editor of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation. He teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Harvard University, where he is the director of creative writing.

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