A Featured Selection of the Writers Digest Book Club
For over ten years, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been teaching two popular master classes in the crafting of fiction and memoirs. They attract students nationwide who have failed to improve their work in courses concentrating on the ‘process’ of writing, encouraging their potential but failing to supply them with the tools. Encompassing two complete writers' workshops, and never before available in book form, So You Want To Write:
Uses talks, exercises, anecdotes and examples
proven in the classroom, to address:
• How to begin a piece by seducing your reader,
• How to create characters that embody the infinite contradictions of human behavior,
• How to master the elements of plotting fiction,
• How to create a strategy for telling the story of your life,
• How to learn to read critically, like a professional writer,
• How to write about painful personal material without coming off as a victim,
• How to proceed if your work is continually rejected by publishers.
Drawing on over seventy years of combined writing experience, other chapters include:
• The overlooked powers of dialogue,
• Creating descriptions that move readers emotionally,
• FAQ’s about agents, rejections, submitting work effectively, how much writers really earn,
• Overcoming shame and the difficulties of writing about loved ones.
"Here is a must-have for would-be writers: a how-to book written by a popular novelist and a successful publisher . . . This fine book is a distillation of the wisdom they have accumulated and dispensed over the years. They start at the beginning with beginnings (story openings) and move smoothly through character building, the importance of dialogue and plot, and how to craft compelling narrative passages . . . Piercy and Wood have a fundamental audience in mind: anyone who has a good story to tell but isn't quite sure how to tell it. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White." —Booklist
"This book is a product of the workshops [they]
have given for many years and those not lucky enough to have participated
in the workshops can now benefit from their no-nonsense wisdom. Readers
will appreciate the hardcore approach of these two dedicated writers."
"Seamless and exceptionally engaging … the book is a valuable
tool for the apprentice in search of practical advice on the craft of
fiction and memoir writing from accomplished novelists."
"The authors conduct well-known writing seminars, and they have
put much of this information into book form. They address plot, character
development, dialogue and all the other elements of successful writing.
They also go into work habits, overcoming the "inner censor" and dealing
with publishers. A good primer for new writers; a fine reference book for
—The Tampa Tribune
"Best-selling writer Piercy and her husband, novelist-publisher Wood, have been co-teaching writers’ workshops for about ten years [and] . . . they have reproduced their master course in this useful manual. Advising against how-to books—even their own—the two authors encourage would-be writers to read as much as possible (included is a list of recommended books), as reading plays the key role in the process of learning how to write. The authors go on to discuss character, plot, dialog, and some of the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry. They also discuss how much writers can expect to earn, what those rejection letters from publishers really mean . . . The exercises at chapter ends are short and to the point, just enough to get the juices flowing. Because of the clear writing style and the authors’ reputations, this book, although joining an already saturated market, is worth the shelf space." —Library Journal
"SO YOU WANT TO WRITE is a lively, informative, and
down-to-earth guide for anyone who's ever thought of writing and
publishing a novel, story, or personal memoir. It answers all the questions
you may have—as well as some you didn't think of."
—Alison Lurie, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Professor of English, Cornell University
Marge Piercy is the author of 35 books of poetry and fiction, including the bestsellers Gone To Soldiers, The Longings of Women and the now-classic Woman on the Edge of Time. She has given readings, lectures, and/or taught at over 300 universities nationwide. In January, 2002, William Morrow (Harper Collins) will be publishing her upcoming memoir, Sleeping With Cats. Ira Wood is the author of three novels, a publisher, and a writing teacher whose classes address writers’ feelings of hopelessness and overcoming the inner censor. Together, in 1998, they co-wrote the critically acclaimed novel Storm Tide