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The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly…

The Fiction Writer's Handbook

by Shelly Lowenkopf

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I have to admit that I was very excited to get The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf. I'm a writer who is growing all the time. I love to get resources to help me.

Well, when I opened it up, it wasn't what I expected. Then again, I'm not sure what I had expected. Even describing is not easy. It is a cross between an encyclopedia for writers and a how-to book for writers. I think I was looking for a book that you read from beginning to end. No. With this book, you can open it up anywhere and read a section.

For example, I turned to 'Family'. I got all the definitions of family plus a few I had never thought of. From there, the definitions slide into how it can be applied to writing. That doesn't even explain it well. The author explains how a family knows each other in ways that others do not and the many different levels families possess. When I pulled back and read it again, I began to see how handy that would really be for me.

I was looking for a how-to kind of book. Instead I found a uniquely written writer's encyclopedia/how-to book. You cannot just read it straight through. There is way too much info on each page to do that. You'll find yourself having to read sections over and over again not because they are hard to understand but because there is no way to get it all in one reading. This is a book you'll be reading years from now and still only scratch the surface on how it can help you.

This is a book that I'll be referring to later today, tomorrow, and next year. It's one that I think every writer, even seasoned ones, needs.

Note: This book was received as part of a book tour with no expectation of a positive review. ( )
  RebeccaGraf | Mar 7, 2013 |
The concept of this book is rather interesting and is laid out in dictonary format, and as such would not be read cover to cover, yet this is exactly what I recommend you do.

This is a collection of literary terms and articles and the e-book version which is the one I had access to is full of links which you can read and follow. This in turns leads you on a literary voyage of discovery.

From the Preface, the author recommends that you

" Open the book anywhere, read an article, then follow the trail of links as far as it takes you. ... You'll see the intent and purpose in a dramatic way."

Through the pages the author shares his vast experiences gathered over his teaching career. He also shares his opinions and the book is littered with other reading options, although they do not all appear in the bibliography. Thankfully I realised in the early stages of reading and jotted the titles down. The bibliography has been reserved for books that the author believes are essential for development of the craft of writing. In fact the author says they are -

"The following titles are not mere recommendations; they are essentials for the professional writer and the avid reader: The sooner and closer they are read, the better."

This was a great book to explore and use as a stepping stone to other reading, and it will certainly be a stable in the writers library.

I was provided with a free copy in exchange for a genuine and honest review. ( )
  AnglersRest | Feb 21, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"The Fiction Writer's Handbook" isn't meant to be read cover to cover. Like "Fowler's English Usage" or "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable," it invites you to browse from topic to topic, finding all sorts of interesting facts and ideas along the way. As the author writes in the preface: " Open the book anywhere, read an article, then follow the trail of links as far as it takes you. ... You'll see the intent and purpose in a dramatic way." He's right about that.

The entry for "portal," for example, leads to "alternative universe," "fantasy," "counterpoint," and "satire." Oops, "counterpoint" also has a link to "pathos," an entry that doesn't exist (I hope that missing link was caught in the final proofs; my copy was for advance readers).

Intriguing entries include "chick lit," "the domino theory," "the drunk in the parking lot," "the choking Doberman," "he unthinkable come to pass," and "Schrödinger's cat." As an editor, I especially like "raisins in the matzo" as an example of how too much embellishment ruins good writing.

Full of valuable advice, this book is also fun to read. The bibliography is limited to books the author insists are not mere recommendations but essential to the craft. I wish it included more of the many novels mentioned in the text. ( )
  frannyor | Dec 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There may be some items of use here, however the decision to make this a dictionary of writing terms, rather than an instructive guide, makes it rather hard to use for anything other than looking up an unfamiliar term. ( )
  Lostshadows | Nov 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Fiction Writer’s Handbook is a great writer’s tool. This handbook contains hundreds of small articles of “entries” on writing. Each article sends you to another that can help you on your path to writing good fiction. This is a good book to have by your side as you go through the writing process.
  jrpatterson | Oct 21, 2012 |
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For the two Annies in my life: The one who bore me, and the one who bore up with me.
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The Fiction Writer's Handbook is a tool for writers of fiction and for readers who love story.
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Short entries describing the terms and processes used in writing fiction.

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