Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sep 6, 2000 - Reference - 208 pages
3 Reviews
Here is a practical guide to writing short stories that explains all the essential techniques of fiction - from character and plot to flashback and foreshadowing - in a way that is both understandable and useful to the beginning writer. Long considered a classic in the field, WRITING IN GENERAL is the product of a lifetime of reflection by one of our best literary minds.

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User Review  - malrubius - LibraryThing

This is subtitled "an informal textbook," and, boy, is it informal. I read it cover to cover and never found anything about "the Short Story in Particular." Often rambling, seemingly in no particular ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ostrom - LibraryThing

The section on "moving" vs. "fixed" action is extremely useful, especially for undergraduates. It's interesting to read a book about short fiction by an editor (not a writer) of short fiction. Read full review


The Short Story as against the Noveland the Sketch
Character and Action
Fixed Action as against Moving Action
As the Story Begins and Ends
Loss of the Last Chance to Change
Recognizing the Crucial
Naming the Moment
Epiphany as a Literary Term
Plot in a Short Story as against Plot in a Novel
Selection in Plot
Plot Structure
Sequence and Causality

The Inevitability of Retrospect
Enhancing the Interaction of Character and Plot
Techniques of Foreshadowing
Foreshadowing and Suspense
Techniques of Suspense
Conflict and Uncertainty
Tension and Anticipation
Agreement in Character and Action
Movement of Character
The Character Shift as against Movement of Character
Slick Fiction as against Quality Fiction
Moving Characters as against Fixed Characters
The Series Regulars as against the Guest Stars
Types of Character
Types as Exceptions
Type Characters as against Stock Characters
The Dichotomous Stereotype
Differentiating from Types
Knowing a Character
The Stress Situation
The Importance and Unimportance of Plot
The Frame as against the Flashback
Pattern in Plot
Choice as Technique
PointofView Methods
Limitations and Advantages in Point of View
When Point of View is Wrong
The Question of Point of View
Point of View and Involvement
The Moved Character and Point of View
The Focusing Power of Point of View
Monologues and the Pathological First Person
Irony and Point of View
The Short Story and the New Criticism
The American Short Story Today
Writing in General
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About the author (2000)

Rust Hills was the long time fiction editor of "Esquire." The author of the trilogy "The Memoirs of a Fussy Man," he divides his time between Florida & Connecticut.

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