This how-to-write fiction book is comprised primarily of exercises introduced by brief but informative essays on the aspects of fiction. Long on specifics and short on theoretical information so often found in books about the art of writing, this text provides a practical, hands-on approach to writing fiction. Organized by the elements of fiction and concluded by an anthology of contemporary fiction, this book helps all fiction writers hone and improve their craft.The elements of fiction-character, point of view, dialogue, plot, style and revision.For those interested in improving fiction-writing skills.
Readers will find the sections differ in their importance. How to begin a story (Beginnings) and the usefulness of Notebooks, Journals, and Memory will most likely be informative only to those early in their writing career. Beginning writers may also find the inclusion of games and the instruction to learn from the greats to be useful. For more advanced writers the reviews provided by topics such as characterization, perspective and point of view, dialogue, plot and (the potpourri included under the heading) mechanics are likely to be useful despite.
The coverage of each topic generally begins with a short explanation of the essential point. That is followed with an exercise that allows readers to practice the skills and techniques just described. This is the weakest part of the book and I was not moved to attempt most of them. Greater thought in crafting more interesting and practical exercises would improve “What If?” greatly. Most of the chapters conclude with examples that depict student’s responses to the exercise. Reading these examples was the most interesting and fun part of the book.
I found this “What If?” to be useful despite my many years of experience as a writer.