Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Book: MAKING SHAPELY FICTION by Jerome Stern

One of my teachers at Queens College, Jeffery Renard Allen, included this book on the suggested reading list for his graduate fiction workshop. By that time I had written several stories of the kind that hit in bolts of inspiration. I wasn't consciously aware of the forms stories could take, so the concept of Stern's book appealed to me, and the book itself delivered. I read and absorbed much of it at the time and just rediscovered it reorganizing my shelves this week.

Making Shapely Fiction not only illustrates how classic story types work, it also has a pragmatically brief section of coaching, a glossary of literary terms, and its own suggested reading list. I recommend it if you're not sure your idea is a story, or as you decide what structure your story should take.

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