Friday 24 May 2013

Non Fiction Friday–Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress

First published in 1992, this edition published in 2011 by F&W Media.
Pages – 176
Goodreads Summary
Get Your Readers' Attention--And Keep It--From the First World to the Final Page.
Translating that initial flash of inspiration into a complete story requires careful crafting. So how do you keep your story from beginning slowly, floundering midway, and trailing off at the end? Nancy Kress shows you effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story--essential lessons for strong start-to-finish storytelling.Hook readers, agents, and editors in the first three paragraphs.Make and keep your story's implicit promise to the reader.Build drama and credibility by controlling your prose.Consider the price a writer pays for flashbacks.Reveal character effectively throughout your story. Get the tools you need to get your story off to an engaging start, keep the middle tight and compelling, and make your conclusion high impact. You'll also find dozens of exercises to help strengthen your short story or novel. Let this resource be your guide to successful stories--from the first word to the last.
While looking for books on plotting novels, I came across this little gem which breaks your novel down into sections looking closely at the beginning, middle and ending of your novel and what to do to make it worth reading. With nine chapters in all, it was full of interesting information  and ideas about how to improve each section. It also explains quite a few writing terms that the novice writer might not be aware of.
Each chapter ends with a list of exercises, which I admit I didn’t do, as I was trying to edit at the same time and needed to focus on that more than doing the exercises.
I found the information easy to understand and I was able to provide myself with a list of questions that I could use while editing my own work. It really made me rethink my ending, which as first draft stage was quite diabolical. This book helped me to rewrite it properly.
My only niggle with the book was the example story that was used throughout the book which actually got on my nerves. At times it felt like it took over the chapters and I found myself skimming those parts in favour of the juicier information I needed. However if it all seems a lot to take in, it would be beneficial to people just starting out on their writing journey.
A clear, concise  breakdown of the sections of novels which need the most work. Definitely worth a read.

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