Reviews of Writing BooksThe Internet Writing Journal
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Building Fiction : How to Develop Plot & Structure, by Jesse Lee KerchevalStory Press, July, 1997.
Trade Paperback, 208 pages.
Building Fiction provides a structured approach to developing stories and novels. The book guides readers with instruction, examples and exercises to help them create their stories and make sure their stories remain consistent, logical and interesting. The author, Jesse Lee Kercheval, adds interesting facts and personal experience and thoughts. For example, when introducing the subject of endings in fiction Kercheval states "When editors send back a short story or reject a novel, nine times out of ten they will say the ending didn't work for them... As a writer I've developed an allergy to hearing the words didn't work and ending together." The advice given in the book covers such subjects as openings, point of view, characters, creating conflict, endings and revision. The last few chapters help you determine whether your work should be a short story, novel, novella, etc. and how to effectively use each different story-telling style.
Kercheval's Building Fiction is an excellent book for beginning writers because it teaches them how to take their ideas and turn them into well-developed stories.
The Elements of Mystery Fiction, by William G. TappleyThe Writer, Aug., 1995.
Trade Paperback, 132 pages.
This guide to writing mystery fiction focuses on the components of the mystery story - finding ideas, the setting, point of view, characters, dialogue, using conflict and tension. The author, William G. Tapply, a popular mystery author, provides examples of his work and other successful mysteries to show you what works. The book covers all aspects of the mystery including secondary characters which Tapply recommends you not ignore; "...every character who steps onto the page...could be a suspect. Readers look for clues to the mystery's solution in these characters." The final chapter offers insight into revising and submitting your final manuscript.
Tapply's book is both inspirational and practical and will be of great benefit to writers looking to break into the mystery genre.
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