The making of a story : a Norton guide to creative writing

by Alice LaPlante

Paper Book, 2007




New York : W.W. Norton, 2010, c2007.


A guide to creative writing that introduces readers to each stage of the creative writing process and helps them build their writing skills through exercises and real-life examples.

User reviews

LibraryThing member BobNolin
Absolutely brilliant. It's the best "how to write" book for beginners that I've found. The book is very big because it contains full-length story examples. I don't know of any other book that does this, and it really helps with understanding and learning. But the best part is the text itself, which is a marvel of clarity and wisdom. No formulas here, just common sense and information about the nuts and bolts of story-making. Highly recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member RandyMetcalfe
Norton Guides are typically used as textbooks, often in introductory college classes. They tend to be well-produced, expertly written, and extremely practical as pedagogical tools (usually with enough flexibility to enable an instructor to take them in different directions as the need arises). The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante meets all of these points and more. Over fourteen chapters it presents a sensible survey of key points in the production of both fiction and creative non-fiction, including chapters on characterisation, narration, point of view, dialogue, and more. While each chapter is useful, I would say that the penultimate chapter on revision, “Learning to Fail Better”, is the most useful of all, not least because of its recognition of the limitations of the (typical) workshop method of teaching creative writing.

Each chapter contains a set of two or more exercises to help reinforce the main points of the chapter. These exercises are very well constructed, neither too lengthy (they could easily be done within a class) nor too arch (they don’t seem excessively contrived). Some draw upon whatever writing the participant may have been doing in his or her own time, but most are standalone exercises, which is better.

A surprisingly useful component of The Making of Story is the “Reading as a Writer” selections at the end of each chapter. These consist of short stories or creative non-fiction pieces that illustrate the points being made in the chapter. They are exceptionally well-chosen, everything from Raymond Carver to John Cheever to Joan Didion, Denis Johnson, Lorrie Moore, Anne Lamott, Francine Prose, Barbara Ehrenreich, Tim O’Brien, Ernest Hemingway and more. Well done Norton for getting permission for the inclusion of so many fine examples. In themselves, they make this a valuable collection. And as part of the greater whole, they help make this a guide I am happy to recommend.
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LibraryThing member selinalynn69
pretty good intro to fiction writing. Nice exercises even though LaPlante is very quote heavy.
LibraryThing member HippieLunatic
Attainable and useful exercises and information for both beginning writers and advanced.
LibraryThing member libheroine
Good exercises to get the creative juices flowing after several years of being blocked.



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