Review: How to Write Fiction (And Think About It)

Palgrave is well known for publishing accessible, high-quality academic books, and this is no exception. Aimed at students of creative writing, How to Write Fiction (And Think About It) goes deep into the heart of what it means to be a writer. Despite the strong academic approach, it’s ideal if you’re a beginning writer – the early chapters have writing exercises aimed to encourage you to build up a regular writing habit (using writing bursts and journalling).

As the book progresses, each chapter builds on what you’ve learned in the previous one, and the exercises become progressively longer. The second half of the book consists of shorter chapters on single aspects of writing, and unlike so much writing advice which just skims the surface, these really dig down into complex topics such as handling the passage of time in fiction.

The second half of the title – “And Think About It” – is crucial. This book will teach you not only how to write excellent prose, but will give you a solid understanding of the techniques which you’re using in order to do so.

If you’re taking – or even considering – any sort of academic writing course, I strongly recommend that you buy this book. And if you’re an aspiring fiction writer who wants a thorough grounding in the craft, get it too (I think this would be especially useful to anyone coming to fiction writing from a non-fiction or commercial writing background). Don’t be put off if you’re an experienced writer, as there will be more than enough in here to spark off new ideas, train you in new techniques and to help you make your next work your best yet…

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